China to raise water level of Three Gorges Dam
Yichang (China), Sep 27 (Xinhua) China is to raise the water level of the Three Gorges Dam, one of the world's biggest hydropower projects, the developer announced Saturday.
The trial operation is set to begin at midnight Sunday.
The water behind the dam would be raised to an unspecified higher level subject to conditions of the Yangtze river, where the project was built, the China Three Gorges Project Corporation (CTGPC) announced.
It said the State Council (cabinet) has given its approval. As of Saturday afternoon, the water level was 145.39 metres.
The plan takes into consideration both electricity generation and lower reaches navigation, the company said.
Experts said there was no need to worry about floods or safety of the dam, as historical data prove that the Yangtze river is unlikely to swell after mid-September on the upper reaches.
They also said a higher water level would not cause massive silting, or lead to serious natural disasters in nearby areas.
The Three Gorges Project, launched in 1993 with a budget equivalent to $22.5 billion, is a multi-functional water control system, built at the upper and middle reaches of the country's longest river.
The dam has a five-tier ship lock as well as 26 hydropower turbo-generators. Its key functions include flood control and power generation.
The project has been constructed in three phases. Storing water at the 175-metre level is a requirement for the last phase of construction.
The Three Gorges Dam will have 14 turbo-generators on the left bank and 12 on the right that will produce 84.7 billion kw (Kilowatt) of electricity annually.
On Monday, developers said the installation of the turbines would be completed in November.
There are plans to add six more turbines by 2012.
As of June, 1.24 million residents have been relocated to make way for the construction of the dam.
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