Zam Hydropower Station, Largest Dam in Tibet on River Brahmaputra Gets Operational

The largest dam in Tibet, which is built across Brahmaputra river has started its functioning since 13th October. Zam Hydropower Station which has cost around USD 1.5 billion (9.6 billion Yuan) is now operational and it is expected that it shall produce 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, thus eradicating electricity crisis in central Tibet. Further when electricity is surplus in the summer season, a part of it shall also be supplied to the neighboring Qinghai province.

The Brahmaputra flows for 1625 Km in the Tibetan autonomous region of China and for another 918 km in India. Although a major part of the river flows in Tibet, it is the lifeline of entire North-Eastern region. After the completion of construction of the dam the entire control on the Brahmaputra river, now goes in to the hands of China. The people of the region fear that in times of political conflict between the nations, China might release the water and which shall affect the entire region. Projects on Brahmaputra are going on in the Upper Siang and Lower Subansiri; and if the water is diverted then these projects may be affected.

Zam Hydropower Station

Zam Hydropower Station

An Indian Inter-Ministerial Expert Group (IMEG) on the Brahmaputra said in 2013 that the three dams – Jiexu, Zangmu and Jiacha have been built up on the upper reaches and called for further monitoring considering the flow of water to the lower reaches. The three dams are built at a distance of 25 kms from each other and are at a distance of 250 km from the Indian border. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying has said the media that both the nations are in constant talks regarding the river water issues during high level visits. She has also added that experts from both the nations are continuously in touch with each other.

This issue has always been in the list among India and China for the past few years and in an Understanding in 2013 China agreed to provide data of floods from May to October unlike from June to October, which was signed in the previous agreements of 2008 and 2010.

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