A proposed hydroelectricity project smack in the middle of China’s oldest irrigation system and a World Heritage site has raised concerns over the government's environmental record.
The proposal includes construction of a dam in the middle of the historic irrigation network at Dujiangyan in Sichuan province, as well as 10 other hydroelectric power stations and tourist and real estate developments.
The plan was first proposed three years ago, but criticism from the media and experts delayed the project until now. Experts are worried about the ecology of the river, as well as potential catastrophe for nearby villages if the dams are breached.
Chen Qingheng, a researcher from the Chengdu ecological research center, said: "It is irrational to build such stations as they will destroy the natural ecology along the river. Moreover, (it) will affect the local drinking water."
The dam will be built on the Botiao River, one of the four tributaries of the Min River, Chengdu’s main source of drinking water.
Zhao Wenqian, the deputy director of the Sichuan provincial academy of water resources, also chimed in on the project. "The hydroelectric project will require a number of dams to be built and they will raise the water level of the river. If the dams are breached, every farm and village in the area will be at risk.”
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