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N.Korean Dam to Cause Water Shortage in S.Korea

Posted April. 22, 2008 04:05,   


North Korea is confirmed to be trapping water behind the walls of the Hwang River Dam in the upper stream of the Imjin River, something which will lead to a water shortage in certain parts of South Korea.

The Dong-A Ilbo discovered the dam’s existence in December 2002.

Grand National Party lawmaker Hwang Jin-ha of the parliamentary defense committee said yesterday, “We have confirmed through Defense Ministry sources that North Korea has been storing water in the Hwang River Dam since the end of last year.”

The multi-purpose dam has a water storage capacity of 300 million to 400 million tons, much more than that of the Hantan River Dam (270 million tons), the Paldang Dam (244 million tons) and the Cheongpyeong Dam (180 million tons).

North Korea is expected to supply water for industry and drinking to the Gaesong Industrial Complex from the Hwang River Dam via the Ryesong River.

Water resource experts estimate that the water stored in the dam accounts for roughly 20 percent of the water in the Imjin River.

If water stored in the dam is not released, places along the lower stream of the river, including Yeoncheon County and Paju in South Korea’s Gyeonggi Province, will suffer a water shortage.

Seoul predicted a water shortage of 293 million tons annually when the dam’s existence was discovered.

There is no other way to manage water resources in the Imjin River before the construction of Gunnam Flood Control Dam (capacity of 70 million tons) is completed in 2010. Construction of the Hantan River Dam (270 million tons) began last year in a tributary of the Imjin River.

North Korea can directly control 420 million to 520 million tons of water with the Hwang River Dam in addition to its fourth “April 5 Dam,” which can store 30 million tons of water in the upper stream of the Imjin River.

The (South) Korea Water Resources Corp. said, “When North Korea suddenly traps or discharges water, South Korea cannot respond to such actions with just the Gunnam Flood Control Dam and the Hantan River Dam.”