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China Prioritizes Hydropower In The West

Part of the Jinsha River, China.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (XNA) Dec 01, 2006
China will give priority to hydropower development in western regions with rich water resources, said an official with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). China has finished a national survey of water resources and estimated a potential of 500 million kW of hydropower based on those resources, said Zhang Guobao, NDRC deputy director.

By the end of 2005, China's installed hydropower capacity had reached 117 million kW, ranking first in the world. But that is only 24 percent of the total water resources available for development in the country. The United States brought 70 percent of its total water resources into use in the 1930s. China has abundant water resources but most of them are located in the west. Future hydropower development will be focused on this area, said Zhang. Hydropower resources in southwest China are mainly in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, including the Jinsha, the Yalong, the Hongshui and the Lancang rivers. Of them, the Jinsha River has the richest water resources.

The Jinsha River section of the Yangtze has 38.5 million kW of generating capacity but currently no hydroelectric stations. The Jinsha River's water resources are of great significance, said Zhang. The official said water resources development in the west will displace fewer people but determining how to relocate them and how to protect the environment are still major problems to be faced. According to Zhang, China has so far invested more than 800 million yuan (102.4 million U.S. dollars) in developing Jinsha River resources in an ecological manner.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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