Lake dam to protect ecology

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2016/11/30 23:53:39

Project team downplays environmental concerns

The construction team of a decade-long dam project at Poyang Lake said on Wednesday that it will do more good than harm to the environment after several adjustments in the plan, in response to a warning by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) over the project's negative effect.

The construction plan for the dam in Duchang county, East China's Jiangxi Province has been adjusted many times, in order to make it more environment-friendly, and to reduce the secondary environmental impact, the construction office of the project told the Global Times in a statement on Wednesday.

The dam will not have a negative effect on cities in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River; on the contrary, these cities support the plan to prevent water from drying in autumn and winter, said the office.

On Wednesday, the WWF published an article on its official website saying that the building of the dam project at Poyang Lake will greatly damage the lake's ecological system. "In order to protect the lake, a dam-free project is supposed to be the best option for Poyang Lake to sustain a healthy ecological system."

Poyang Lake's low water level is the result of human activities and climate change, said the WWF, adding that the dam project is not the only way to relieve the environmental pressure of the surrounding area.

The water resource department of Jiangxi Province said on November 23 that the environmental evaluation of the project would be available to the public in 10 days.

The Poyang dam project was first proposed in the 1980s. The local government at the time thought it would help control the fluctuations in the lake's water level, which varied widely between the rainy season and dry season and put a damper on the area's economic development.

After over a decade of deliberation, the plan was delivered to the National People's Congress in 2002.

It is understandable to initiate this project if the water shortage has seriously affected the local people's life, Dai Xingyi, a professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering at Shanghai-based Fudan University, told the Global Times.

However, the dam will damage the flood discharge function of Poyang Lake, said Dai.

"My biggest concern over this project is that such a hefty investment will not yield the expected improvement in water supply," said Dai.

The total investment on this project is 13 billion yuan, reported on Friday. The construction office of the dam project told the Global Times that this is a non-profit project that will not produce electricity.

In 2014, the WWF also warned against the project after it was submitted to the National Development and Reform Commission for approval.

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