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Guangdong on Reservoir Safety Drive

Guangdong Province will earmark 4.4 billion yuan (US$634 million) to reinforce 76 large and medium-sized reservoirs and 1,218 smaller ones in the next three years.

All vulnerable reservoirs in the province are expected to be made secure by the year 2010.

"Many reservoirs in the province are aging and could face a growing number of risks if not dealt with properly and in time," Huang Baiqing, director of the provincial water resources department, said.

Huang said most of the reservoirs in the province, built in the 1950s and 60s, are not up to the standard of those built recently owing to construction conditions at the time; and the extreme climatic conditions in Guangdong, frequent typhoons and rainstorms, have posed a safety risk to the reservoirs.

Guangdong began safety work on its reservoirs in 2003, and has so far spent 9.2 billion yuan. Statistics show the province has 33 large reservoirs, 300 medium-sized ones and 6,922 small ones. Their total storage capacity is 40.8 billion cu m.

Huang said the province will continue to monitor small illegal hydropower plants, while improving flood prevention.

A total of 369 hydropower plants found to be operating illegally have been dealt with since June last year. They are now operating normally after meeting requirements. The plants could have threatened the safety of 240,000 people.

About 96 percent of the towns have set up flood prevention offices in the province.

E Jingping, vice minister of water resources, spoke highly of the province's endeavors to guarantee the safety of reservoirs.

"The importance the provincial authorities have attached to reservoir safety and the generous investment in the sector is an example that should be followed by other regions," he said.

E urged government departments nationwide to pay close attention to the safety of aging reservoirs, newly constructed hydropower plants and other related projects under construction to minimize risks.

(China Daily May 29, 2008)

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