REPORTS SAY THAT IMPOUNDING of water up to a predetermined level has commenced at Tehri dam in India, with the official closing of two tunnel gates that diverted the Bhagirathi river. The impounding has already created a pool, nearly 4km long and 25m deep, which has submerged parts of the old Tehri town.
Environmental groups have protested against the construction of the dam since it was first planned. Some have argued that the dam is unsafe, due to it being built on highly faulted and seismically active area in the Himalayas. However, designers of the 260.5m high rockfill dam say that Tehri is designed to withstand the maximum credible earthquake, and has very little risk of failing due to earthquake activity.
The Tehri dam project, first conceived in 1949, was approved by India’s Planning Commission in 1972. It is located in the outer Himalaya in the Tehri-Garhwal district of Uttar Pradesh, northern India. The project is being implemented in stages and will irrigate 270,000ha of land and generate 1000MW in stage I, another 1000MW in stage II, and 400MW in stage III.
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