Tawu dam protest: a reader contributes information

Sunday, January 17, 2010

In May 2009, it was reported that six Tibetan women were wounded by gunshots after Chinese security forces opened fire at protestors venting their opposition to a hydroelectric dam near Tawu County in Karze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of China’s Sichuan Province. There were no reports after this incident. The Tibetan Plateau Blog provided some information about the region and made an astute speculation that the dam must be Lianghekou. We also provided additional, updated map of hydropower development in the region.

One of the readers of this blog, James, who has travelled to the dam sites, wants to contribute new information about the dam and the protest. He sent us three photographs with captions (see below) that he will use to share information. Please look for James' comments (below) on this post.

View of the Chaba valley about 25 kilometers upriver from the dam. This place will be under water soon.

A view of Lianghekou. On the left side the Yalong river goes up to Nyarong (Xinlong) and on the top right side the Chaba valley leads up to Tawu (Daofu).

Map of the dam


Anonymous said...

Could you provide us with GPS coordinates for these places?


James said...

Lianghekou Dam Impact Data

Technical project description

No less than three different technical data sets are available for this project:

First and official version: The dam is 293m high, installed generating capacity is 2800 MW, expected long term generated electricity is 11.062 billion kw/h per year. Investment is estimated to be 21.368 billion RMB. The regular level of the reservoir would be at 2865m above sea level and the storage capacity at that level would be 10.154 billion cubic meters of water.

Second version: The dam is 305m high, installed generating capacity is 2700 MW and expected long term generated electricity is 10.34 billion kw/h per year. The regular level of the reservoir would be at 2880m above sea level and the storage capacity at that level would be 12 billion cubic meters of water.

The foundation of the construction is at 2585m, water fills up to 2880m results in a depth at the dam of 295m with the dam being 305m there are 10m left as a reserve.

In direction of Nyarong for 45km at Pubarong Xiang the depth is around 140m. From Pubarong further upriver for 22km at Azong (阿宗) the depth is around 50m.

Third version: The regular level of the reservoir would be at 2865m, installed generating capacity is 3000 MW, expected long term generated electricity is 11.491 billion kw/h per year. The average flow rate of the river is 664 cubic meters per second during the entire year.

Comparing the above figures: Something is strange with the official figure compared to the second version: Why would the lower level of water and less storage capacity produce more output per year? With a dam the higher water level is able to increase the pressure on each turbine and the result is more electricity produced. Also the higher reservoir level results in more water stored during summer and therefore another increase in production during winter.

If I look at the large number of persons relocated it seems more likely the second version is built. Only time will tell us what will happen.

For comparison: Ertan dam further downstream has a 240m high dam and 5.8 billion cubic meters of water stored.

Impact on nature, population and culture

The counties of Yajiang, Daofu, Litang and Xinlong have a total of 17 Xiang level units with an impact by flooding from the Lianghekou dam project.

Flooded area:
The total area flooded by the dam is 11’723.33 ha or 117.23 square kms (175’850 Mu). This is equivalent to a square of 10.827 kilometer by 10.827 kilometer.

Impact on nature:
Of the total area 10017 ha (150’266 Mu) is agricultural land, 116 ha (1739 Mu) is built up area and 1589 ha (23’845 Mu) is not used.
Of the agricultural land 7523 ha (112’847 Mu) are forests, 1487 ha (22’304 Mu) pastures, 982 ha (14’736 Mu) fields under cultivation and 25 ha (379 Mu) apple plantations.

Impact on the population:
Two towns (Zhen) will be flooded and evacuated in Yajiang county and four in Daofu county. Many other small villages will be flooded too.
A total of 1032 households with 6668 persons live in areas expected to be flooded. As another 547 persons depend to a large part on land that will be flooded the number of persons to be resettled is 7215. More than 95% of them are Tibetans.

Impact on culture:
A total of 272 religious buildings will be destroyed. The buildings are: 6 monasteries, 40 temples, 171 stupas and 55 Mani stone walls.

Resettlement compensation paid:
For farming land it is claimed that 6000 RMB to 7500 RMB were paid per Mu. For each ha this is 90’000 RMB to 112’500 RMB or around 14’000 US Dollar. For each apple tree a compensation of 1000 RMB (140 US Dollar) was paid. Such figures will have to be crosschecked with people who were resettled. It sounds very generous to me.

The main source for the data: Journal of the Southwest Minority University, Vol. 2007 / 01, pages 30 to 33. Chengdu, China. No abstract in English.

The Tibetan Plateau Blog said...

Hello Francois: There is a Google Earth image on this link which shows the coordinates and the spot where the dam is likely to be built.

James: this is perfect. Thanks also for copies of the four pages of the Journal of the Southwest Minority University, your main source of information shared here. These pages will be shared with anyone who is interested in reading them.

Anonymous said...

coordinates are 30°11'48"N 101°0'40"E

Anonymous said...

Sorry for being such a dunce, Is the impact data provided by James for the Ertan Dam or for the Langkhekhou dam.

James said...

It is for the Lianghekou dam.