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More dams of the four major rivers to be open

Posted November. 11, 2017 07:53,   

Updated November. 11, 2017 08:18


The government has decided to open more dams of the four major rivers. In particular, all floodgates of five dams, including the Hapcheon Changnyeong Dam, will be open. This will be the first time that all of the floodgates are open at once since the construction was completed in 2013. However, it has provoked a backlash from the local communities and residents as they worry about water shortage.

In a joint briefing by the Office for Government Policy Coordination, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on Friday, the government officials said that eight additional dams will be open following six dams opened in June. In total, 14 dams out of 16 dams of the four major rivers will be open.

All floodgates of five dams, including the Hapcheon Changnyeong Dam and the Seungchon Dam, will be open at once. In other words, no water will be reserved in these dams. “Additional dams will be open as it has been criticized that it is difficult to check change in water currents, impact on the water quality and the aquatic ecosystem and condition of dam structure with only limited number of dams opened in June,” said Vice Minister of Environment Ahn Byung-ok.

The government plans to reduce the water level slowly at 2–3 centimeters per hour to prevent drawdown leading to water scarcity of the local communities. If any unexpected incident occurs, dams will be closed or water levels will be restored. The government will also invest 11 million U.S. dollars to renovate 25 nearby pumping stations.

Among 14 dams, opening dates of seven dams, including the Ipo Dam on the Han River and six dams on the Nakdong River, will be determined later as they are located near regions prone to drought in the spring. The Yeoju Dam and the Gangcheon Dam on the Han River are excluded from the government’s plan.

Mee-Jee Lee image@donga.com