China’s dam; regional power
12 February 2021
China is planning to construct a 60-gigawatt mega-dam on the Yarlung Zangbao River – known as the Brahmaputra in India, which flows through Tibet, Bangladesh and eventually becomes the Brahmaputra when it enters India.
The Yarlung Zangbao Dam is expected to be the world’s biggest dam and dam sited just 30 kilometers from the Indian border. Reports say the country has failed to discuss or enter into water-sharing agreements with downstream India or Bangladesh. Meanwhile, India intends to respond with its own10-gigawatt project on another tributary of the Brahmaputra. Further, experts have warned the record-breaking dam is likely to have political and environmental consequences.
The International Water Courses Convention, adopted by the United Nations in 1997, applies certain rights and duties in relation to trans-boundary flows, although neither Bangladesh, India or China are signatories.
Brian Eyler, an expert in rivers who is the director of the South East Asia
Program at the Stimson Center said that “zero coordination for operating
dams” has allowed China’s 11 Mekong dams to disrupt fish life and the flow
of sediment and has directly contributed to the collapse of river banks and the destruction of communities.
Other nations of Southeast Asia are affected due to China’s lack of
consultations with downstream neighbours and have sparked controversy with them. For instance China’s 11 mega-dams on the Mekong River have caused water levels there to fluctuate widely without prior notice to Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Some analysts have now concluded that China is using its leverage over water flows as a stick to win concessions from downstream Southeast Asian states on other issues, including in regard to its Belt and Road Initiative.
Adapted from original source: TimesNews