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Water 2015, 7(5), 2349-2357; doi:10.3390/w7052349

China’s Policy on Dams at the Crossroads: Removal or Further Construction?

1
Changjiang River Scientific Research Institute, Changjiang Water Resources Commission, Wuhan 430010, Hubei, China
2
State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
3
School of Engineering, The University of Edinburgh, The King's Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JL, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sharon Megdal
Received: 2 December 2014 / Revised: 10 May 2015 / Accepted: 12 May 2015 / Published: 19 May 2015
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Abstract

During the past century, the number and scale of reservoirs worldwide has grown substantially to meet the demand for water and hydropower arising from increased population, industrialization, and urbanization. This is particularly the case in China, where reservoir construction increased rapidly after the Chinese economic reform and the introduction of open-door policies. On average, 4.4 large reservoirs with a capacity greater than 0.1 km3 were constructed per annum during the 1970s–1990s. This average reached 11.8 such reservoirs per annum in the 2000s. Considering the adverse impact of dams on rivers and riparian communities, various environmentalists and non-governmental organizations in China have begun to protest against the construction of dams. Now China’s policy on dams is at a crossroads: Removal or further construction? In this paper, we systematically assess the construction of reservoirs in China and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of large-scale reservoir projects on several major rivers in China: The Yangtze River, the Yellow River and the Mekong River. Lastly, we provide a perspective on the future of reservoir development in China, taking into account natural conditions, renewable hydropower resources, and greenhouse gas emissions. View Full-Text
Keywords: reservoir; natural resource; eco-environment; China reservoir; natural resource; eco-environment; China
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Miao, C.; Borthwick, A.G.L.; Liu, H.; Liu, J. China’s Policy on Dams at the Crossroads: Removal or Further Construction? Water 2015, 7, 2349-2357.

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