Hydropower on the Nu River
In 2004, there was a plan to put 13 dams along the Nu River, one of the most biodiverse regions of China. The total output of the dams would surpass that of the Three Gorges Dam, and would be used to supply electricity to Southwest China. Wen Jiabao put a stop to the projects that year after a public outcry from environmentalists and foreign governments alike. Later in 2005, some smaller proposals received approval. It seems that construction has begun on at least one of the dams. Is there another way for this region to develop and use hydropower for its electricity needs without building dams which harm the natural and social environment? Maybe the picture seems bleak and the future inevitable, but there are a few signs and examples of a more sustainable route…
Information about the Nu River in Yunnan is also described in the China River Project:
The Nu River flows some 3059 kilometers from the slopes of Tangula Mountain in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau to the northeast corner of the Indian Ocean. For approximately 700 kilometers of this length, it carves what has been called the “Grand Canyon of the East.” The river is flanked by the Gao Li Gong Shan range to the west, and the Bi Luo Snow Mountain and Mei Li Snow Mountain Ranges to the east, forming a canyon of 4500 meters in depth.
The Nu River flows through Yunnan Province in China before it broadens and enters eastern Burma, where it is more commonly known as the Salween River. The Salween River forms a portion of the Burmese-Thai border and empties into the Andaman Sea in Kayin State.
[…] The Nu River is threatened by a proposed cascade of thirteen hydropower dams, which would generate as much power as China’s Three Gorges Dam and would displace local ethnic communities.