WWF, Three Gorges Corp. Cooperate to Protect Yangtze

Posted on 28 March 2010

Beijing - The world’s largest hydro complex operator – the China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGPC) - will cooperate with WWF to promote sustainable hydropower standards that could help maintain healthy Environmental Flows in the Yangtze River.

The 5-year Memorandum of Understanding between CTGPC and WWF aims to make the Three Gorges Dam’s operations more sustainable to help restore crucial environmental flows to keep the Yangtze, the world’s third-longest river, in good health.

Environmental flows are the quantity, quality, timing, and temperature of water that is required to sustain freshwater and estuarine ecosystems as well as the livelihoods that depend on them.

“The Yangtze is home to over 400 million people – that’s close to one third China’s population. With so many people relying on the health of this river to maintain their livelihoods, ensuring that the Three Gorges Dam operates sustainably is a must,” said WWF Director-General James Leape.

“Greener hydro standards that improve Environmental Flows for the world’s largest dam means the Yangtze’s rich resources have the chance to be protected for future generations.”

The MOU also sets the Yangtze Environmental Flows Project in motion, which will benefit from strengthened international exchanges, public awareness campaigns on the Three Gorges Project, as well as the what’s being done to protect the Yangtze’s valuable resources.

“Hydropower can bring huge social, economic and ecological benefits, but it can also have an impact on the environment. The CTGPC is working with WWF to minimizing the impacts of the Three Georges Project and other hydro complexes to ensure the Yangtze’s future,” said CTGPC Chairman, Cao Guangjing.

The agreement comes after two years of cooperation between CTGPC and WWF on sustainable dam management and E-flows modeling. While the primary focus of the new partnership is minimizing the impact of the Three Georges Project, the lessons learned will be adapted and applied to other hydroelectric projects across China.

The Three Gorges Dam is the world’s largest hydroelectricity plant, spanning over 2.3km across the Yangtze River. The dam’s total generation capacity will eventually reach 22,500MW, which represents about 5% of China’s total electricity demands.

The development of internationally recognized sustainable hydropower standards on dams is an encouraging sign for projects that have the potential to impact the environment.

For more information please contact

Chris Chaplin, Communications Officer, WWF-China
+86 10 6511 6237, cchaplin@wwfchina.org