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Poyang Lake dam criticised by environmentalists

1 February 2012
Environmental activists have criticised a proposed dam designed to tackle a severe water shortage in Jiangxi province’s Poyang Lake, reported South China Morning Post.

Jiangxi authorities said their proposal for a new dam to alleviate a prolonged dry spell had been submitted to the National Development and Reform Commission and had passed the environmental assessment process, Guangzhou Daily reported. Water levels in Poyang Lake dropped to a six-decade low of eight metres last month and water authorities said that drought would become the norm in future unless a new dam was built.

However, environmental activist Wang Yongchen said the dam would threaten Poyang Lake’s eco-system and worsen the drought by cutting the link with its water source, the Yangtze River.

“Rivers and lakes depend on each other,” Mr Wang said. “The Three Gorges Dam has already kept water from the Yangtze and the lake, and the new Poyang Lake dam would further obstruct the natural connection.”

Dai Nianhua , a researcher from Jiangxi Academy of Sciences, attributed the increased incidence of drought to the Three Gorges Dam, low levels of rainfall and uncontrolled sand mining during the past decade. He told Guangzhou Daily that the lake bed at Poyang Lake had fallen about 15 metres in the past 13 years because of mining.

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