August 28, 2011

Beijing maps out source and course of Brahmaputra, Indus

Beijing, August 27
Bracing to build a number of water projects in Tibet, including a dam on the Brahmaputra, Chinese scientists have completed a comprehensive satellite study of cross-border Tibetan rivers, determining their exact sources besides measuring the length of their drainage basins.

Besides mapping out the course of the Brahmaputra, the photographic analysis using expeditions and satellite imagery, the researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) also collected details about the flow of Indus which flows through India and Pakistan besides Salween and Irrawaddy rivers that flow through Burma.

Previously, the sources of these four rivers were never clearly designated and differing accounts regarding their lengths and drainage areas confused researchers for many years due to restrictions of natural conditions and surveying and mapping technologies, according to Liu Shaochuang, a researcher with the Institute of Remote Sensing Applications under the CAS.

The result of their analysis and field investigations showed that the Brahmaputra, called Yarlungzangbo in Tibetan language, originates from the Angsi Glacier, located on the northern side of the Himalayas in Burang County of Tibet, and not Chema-yungdung glacier, as claimed by geographer Swami Pranavananda in the 1930s, Liu said.

According to Liu, the river is 3,848-km-long, and its drainage area is 7,12,035 sq km, while previous documents showed that its length varied from 2,900 to 3,350 km and its drainage area between 5,20,000 and 1.73 million sq km.

The data could be useful in the fifth of round of expert-level talks between India and China to exchange hydrological data and flood management of the Brahmaputra.

The study results were announced days after China revealed its plans to build $1.8 billion worth of water projects in Tibet, which presumably included a hydropower project over the Brahmaputra.

The money would go to 16 categories of water programmes covering irrigation, drinking water, flood prevention and control and hydropower, officials of the Tibet’s Water Resources Department said.

According to previous reports, China was planning to build a $1.2 billion run of the river dam to generate 510 mw power. — PTI

No comments: