China is to build a network of 21 digital earthquake-monitoring stations at the Chongqing section of the Three Gorges reservoir by the end of 2007, according to a local earthquake official.

The US$3.7M stations would offer 24 hour seismic monitoring and provide an earthquake warning system for the local government, said Zhang Rong, head of the Earthquake Prevention Office of the Chongqing Municipal Seismological Bureau.

The Yangtze river-based Three Gorges project is expected to be completed in 2008, a year ahead of schedule. It includes a 2309m long, 185m high dam.

China’s government has already invested more than US$482M in the prevention and control of geological disasters in the area of the 84.7BkWh/yr scheme.