India to build multipurpose reservoir in Arunachal to offset impact of China’s hydropower project on Brahmaputra

NEW DELHI, Dec 1: Amid concerns over China building a major hydropower project on the Brahmaputra river in Tibet, India too plans to construct a multipurpose reservoir in Arunachal to offset its impact, a senior official of the jal shakti ministry said on Tuesday.

TS Mehra, commissioner (Brahmaputra and Barak) in the jal shakti ministry said the multipurpose 10,000 mw hydropower project is under consideration.

“This project will help offset the impact of the hydropower project by China,” he said.

He explained that the proposed 9.2 BCM ‘Upper Siang’ project on the Siang river in Arunachal will be able to take the excess load of water discharge and can even store water in case of any deficit.

Mehra added that 90 percent of the Brahmaputra’s water comes through its tributaries in India during the monsoon season, thanks to the abundant rainfall in the Northeast region. It is only in the winters that 80 percent of the Siang river gets its water from the upper stretches as glaciers become the main source.

Another senior jal shakti ministry official said the project has been under discussion since the 1980s, pointing out hindrances in its execution.

Last week, Yan Zhiyong, chairman of the Power Construction Corp of China, said Beijing will “implement hydropower exploitation in the downstream of the Yarlung Zangbo (the Tibetan name for the Brahmaputra)” and the project could serve to maintain water resources and domestic security.

“There is no parallel in history… It will be a historic opportunity for the Chinese hydropower industry,” Zhiyong told a press conference organized to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the China Society for Hydropower Engineering.

The mighty Brahmaputra, one of the longest rivers in the world, passes through China, India and Bangladesh and has several tributaries and sub-tributaries.

Yarlung Zangbo originates in Tibet. The river is known as the Siang when it enters India through Arunachal. It is further joined by several tributaries to take shape of the Brahmaputra in Assam.

As a lower riparian state with considerable established user rights to the waters of the trans-border rivers, the Indian government has consistently conveyed its views and concerns to the Chinese authorities and has urged them to ensure that the interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas. (PTI)