China approves construction of three new dams on Brahmaputra

China gave green light for the construction of three new hydropower dams on the middle reaches of the Brahmaputra River, ending a two-year halt in approving new projects on the river amid concerns from India and environmental groups.

Where these dams would be built?

The three dams will be built at following sites:

  • A 640 MW dam will be built in Dagu, 18 km upstream of Zangmu.
  • 320 MW dam will be built at Jiacha, also on the middle reaches of the Brahmaputura downstream of Zangmu.
  • At Jiexu, 11 km upstream of Zangmu.

Currently, China is doing construction on one major hydropower dam on the main stream of the middle reaches of the Brahmaputra or Yarlung Zangbo as it is known in China – a 510 MW project in Zangmu in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

Diversion plan postponed

China has shelved a plan to divert the Yarlung Zangbo’s waters to the arid north, citing technical challenges. The plan is part of the proposed Western route of the massive South-to-North diversion project, on which construction is yet to begin.

Concerns in India

The construction is likely to generate fresh concerns on how the flows of the Brahmaputra downstream will be impacted as large volumes of water will be required to store to generate power.



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