Updated* maps of dams: Eastern Tibet

Saturday, November 28, 2009

*The maps on this blog, and the details, have been updated since it was first posted. Special thanks to Fan Xiao, the chief engineer of the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau in Chengdu, for providing details on Minjiang dams. What follows is the most up to date publicly available information on hydropower projects in the region.

This is an update on maps I shared on this blog on Zungchu/Minjiang and Gyarong Ngulchu/Dadu rivers. Thanks to encouraging and informative feedback from Bruce Lee, Fan Xiao, Kevin Li, Stone Routes, and from Probe International researchers, the following maps and tables provide a unique and reliable information on dams on the eastern edges of the Tibetan Plateau.

For the sake of simplicity and accuracy a project's Status has only four possible values: Built, Under Construction, Planned/Proposed, and Cancelled. The term "Built" includes HPPs that have started generating power but are not complete, as well as those that have been operational but are currently non-functional. "Under Construction" indicates that work is proceeding on the ground and does not necessary entail that the river has been blocked or diverted. "Planned/Proposed" includes those HPPs that are those projects which the design, environmental issues, financing etc. are being developed as well as those that have been discussed but have never made it to the drawing board in any serious way. "Cancelled" includes only those projects for which there is widespread agreement that the government has decided that the proposed projects will not go ahead. This does not mean that a similar project may not be in the works to get around of the cancellation of the original project.

Capacity is given in MegaWatts. This should be understood to be the planned maximum rated power generation capacity of the generators of a HPP when it is completed. While every effort has been made to assure their accuracy, these figures are often given somewhat different values in different sources. Power generation capacity of hydropower generators is developing quickly so they may change.

Height is given in meters and indicates the total height of the dam associated with the HPP.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Clean Development Mechanism (UNFCCC CDM) assisted projects have been included on the tributaries map for three reasons. One is simply that reliable information is available for them. A second reason is that they provide examples of the thousands of small HPPs built throughout China which may (or may not) have negative consequences to the environment or local residents. A third reason they are shown is that they are examples of where Carbon Trading funds are going, which means that the general public overseas are subsidizing these projects since the Carbon Credits bought are tax deductible in developed nations. The CDM reports are available on the internet and at the UNFCCC site. More information regards UNFCCC at Wikipedia.



Click on the image below for details on Gyarong Ngulchu and Tianwan He dams

Hydropower Project on Zungchu / Minjiang River

Dams on the tributaries of Zungchu/Minjiang

Click on image below for details on Zungchu/Minjiang dams

Sources of data presented here: websites of Probe International, UNFCCC, China Guodian Corp., and a number of other web based resources. Various Chinese and non-Chinese maps of the area have been used for geographical information. The maps are only approximately to scale. The positions of the hydropower projects are approximate. A detailed professional map should be used for more accurate geographic information.

Suggested reading on policy implications of these dam projects."


James said...

The WWF is active in China and has published a range of interesting books. The “Yangtze Conservation and Development Report 2007” has in chapter 9 “Hydropower Development in the Upper Yangtze” (pages 205 to 230) similar maps and information as on this blog. There is also a year 2009 version of the report which I have not seen yet.
There are WWF bureaus in Chengdu, Lhasa and Kunming.
Below you can check how a Tibetan leaflet for tiger and snow leopard protection looks:

The Tibetan Plateau Blog said...

Thanks James. Have you seen our (TEAM) leaflets which are quite similar.

Anonymous said...

I am collecting Tibetan rivers name in both Chinese and Tibetan language. Can somebody provide the Chinese name for rivers shown on the map.
Muge chu
Tro chu
Trosung chu

Anonymous said...

The Tibetan names are from Gyurme Dorje's Footprint Tibet Handbook. The Trochu is the only one he gives the Chinese name for.

Mugechu - Mao'ergaihe - 毛尔盖河
Trochu - Heishui - 黑水
Trosungchu - Somang Qu

Though I got Somang Qu off a professional map I think it is incorrect.