Amid concern in India over China’s plans to construct dams upstream on the Brahmaputra, a senior government official said here on Wednesday that the run-of-the-river projects would not affect inflows into India.

Reacting to the news that China plans to construct three new hydropower dams in the middle reaches of the Brahmaputra (or Yarlung Zangbo as it is known in China), Union Water Resources Secretary Dhruv Vijay Singh told The Hindu that the Indian government was aware of the dams being constructed/proposed by China. “We are keeping a close watch. These are run-of-the-river dams with no storage and will not affect inflows into India,” he said.

However, the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, an NGO, said these being run-of-the-river projects, there may not be any change in the annual flows of the river, but the flow patterns may change and concern about flooding and erosion could not be overlooked.

The Hindu reported on Tuesday that the Chinese State Council had approved the construction of three new dams on the Brahmaputra under a new energy development plan for 2015.

In India, the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation is constructing the Upper Siang Hydroelectric Project on the Siang tributary of the Brahmaputra in Arunachal Pradesh and the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri project on Subansiri, another tributary of the Brahmaputra on the Arunachal Pradesh, Assam border.

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