…Officials in Lhasa argue the dams are the least damaging way of providing power and raising living standards in the region. “Tibet is rich in water resources and has good potential for setting up more hydropower stations and dams,” said Baima Wangdui, director of the region’s water resources department. “With the economic development of Tibet we need more resources. We will take great care in protecting Tibet’s natural life and consider the [impact] on society.”
They add that hydropower is cleaner and more efficient than coal, oil, gas or nuclear power stations to generate electricity. A 2003 study by the ministry of water suggested it could generate 1,800bn kilowatt hours a year in Tibet.
[…] But Tashi Tsering, a researcher on Tibetan water resources at the University of British Columbia, warned that assessments did not recognise the full impact of damming. While they consider local biodiversity, they frequently failed to consider water quality and roles played by free-flowing rivers such as nutrient recycling.