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Satellite images rule out diversion of Brahmaputra news
17 June 2011

Satellite images have confirmed that China's Zangmu dam on the main Brahmaputra river has not caused any diversions of the Brahmaputra waters as yet, government officials said responding to reports about China's plans to divert waters that could impact downstream countries like India and Bangladesh.

Government officials said that they have ascertained that the Zangmu dam in the middle reaches of the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) is a run-of-the river hydro-electricity project, which does not store water.

According to the government, while the construction of Zangmu dam had stopped the river temporarily, there were two channels on the sides that allowed the continuous flow of water.

Admitting that China was also constructing smaller dams on tributaries of the Brahmaputra, officials said they have been informed these are also run-of-the-river projects.

"There is no diversion yet as we have confirmed through satellite imagery and other information available with us," said a source. Officials said that apart from the assurances from China, the government has verified facts from its own sources and there was no cause for any alarm.

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who had met foreign minister S M Krishna over the issue earlier in the day, was provided the same assurance by Krishna.

Official sources say that the government is continuing to monitor the situation and any attempt to divert the water will not be seen favourably by India. They further said that there was exchange of water data between the two countries and an expert-level committee was present to discuss such issues.

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Satellite images rule out diversion of Brahmaputra