China: Other Projects

International Rivers has worked on several other projects in China, including Tiger Leaping Gorge Dam, Zipingpu Dam, Xiaoxi Dam, and Megoe Tso Lake.

Zipingpu Dam

Zipingpu Dam on the Min River
Zipingpu Dam on the Min River
Credit: ChengDu Online,

On the upper reaches of the Min River, a tributary of the Yangtze in Sichuan province, a vital irrigation system known as Dujiangyan and its surrounding areas will be negatively impacted by the Zipingpu Dam project. For over 2,200 years, water flowing through Dujiangyan has supported populations and protected them from droughts and floods. With limited and sporadic amounts of water flowing through Dujiangyan due to the Zipingpu Dam upstream, downstream impacts are expected to be tremendous. In addition, at least 40,000 people have been displaced by the project. This project is being financed by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and was completed in 2006. 

Giant Dam May Have Triggered Sichuan Quake, The Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2009

Earthquake on May 12, 2008 damages Zipingpu Dam

Rising Tide: Dissent Slows China's Drive for Massive Dam Projects, The Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2007

Scenes From a River - Describes a journey along the Min River from Zipinpgu Dam to the river’s headwaters in Tibet, World Rivers Review, June 2006.

Min River Drying Up? - A series of dams and hydro projects on the Min River have caused one of the upper Yangtze River’s largest tributaries to run dry in places. Local residents and water experts are concerned that the 735-kilometer Min River could become permanently altered by dams built on its upper reaches which also threaten one of the world’s oldest irrigation systems downstream, Independent Online (South Africa), April 23, 2005.

Report on Resettlement at Zipingpu Dam - Chinese researcher Fan Xiao visited the communities resettled by Zipingpu Dam and found evidence of graft and corruption, violation of rights, and dissatisfaction with the amount of compensation given. Translated from Chinese by Kevin Li, 2005.

Development Disasters: Japanese-Funded Dam Projects in Asia - Published by International Rivers, Rivers Watch East and Southeast Asia and Friends of the Earth Japan. Features case studies of six Japanese-funded dam projects at various stages of implementation, including a case study on Zipingpu Dam, 2003.

Dam the Consequences - Building yet another dam could threaten an ages-old engineering marvel in Sichuan and a key part of China’s heritage. But the project is going ahead as authorities smother public debate on its impact, Far Eastern Economic Review, July 2002.

Megoe Tso Lake


For years, the sacred and holy Tibetan Megoe Tso Lake (also known as Mugecuo Lake) faced the threat of being dammed. For over a thousand years, this ecological wilderness has been a cultural and natural heritage site not only for local Tibetan and Chinese people, but for humanity as a whole. Megoe Tso Lake, together with nearby springs and pools, sustains more than 1,000 species of rare tropical plants and 2,000 varieties of animals and birds. Spiritual pilgrims, tourists, botanists and photographers from around the world visit the area every year and the lake has been a spiritual site since pre-Buddhist times. Damming the waters of this sacred lake for hydroelectric power would have seriously undermined the natural and cultural heritage of the area. In early November 2006, Ganzi Prefecture announced that it was scrapping plans for the dam due to the environmental impacts of the project.

Civil Society Rejects Greenwashing of Dams at World Water Forum - Ganzi Prefecture announced in early November it was scrapping a controversial dam project on the sacred Tibetan Megoe Tso Lake in western Sichuan Province of China. A spokesperson for the Ganzi Prefecture was quoted as saying that "although hydropower is clean energy, we are strongly against the impacts of this development on the environment", November 14, 2006.

Megoe Tso: The Damming of Tibet's Sacred Lake - This report by the Tibet Justice Center reviews the Chinese government’s plans to build a dam on eastern Tibet’s most sacred lake, Megoe Tso, April 2005.

Destroying a Natural Treasure in the Name of Progress, South China Morning Post, August 16, 2003

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