China's Longtan hydro power project has begun storing water, after four sluice gates were lowered to stop the flow of Hongshui river.

The project, the third largest hydroelectric development in the country, is part of the Chinese government’s campaign to harness electricity in the western regions to bring to the energy-thirsty eastern and coastal areas.

Zhong Jun, chairman of the board of Longtan Hydropower Development and in charge of the water storage process, said that it would take 18 days to raise the water level of the reservoir from 215 to 290.5m, and the level would eventually rise to 375m in August 2009.

The 6300MW Longtan project, located in northewest Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region, is being constructed with an investment of approximately US$3.75B from China Datang Corporation (CDT), that grants the construction of the 216.5m high dam, a ship lock and an underground power house with nine generators.

Construction began in 2001 and is expected to be complete in 2009, when the project will be able to generate 18.7BkW/yr.