BEIJING, June 2 (Xinhua) -- The Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric project, should not be blamed for the lingering drought in south China, a government official said.
"The drought would have been more severe without the dam," said Liu Xuefeng, an official at the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, as was reported by the Beijing Times on Thursday.
China's southern areas are suffering from their worst drought in 60 years, which has triggered debates over whether the dam caused the prolonged drought.
There is no evidence to support such claims. In fact, it has played an important role in relieving the drought by increasing water in the Yangtze downstream of it, Liu said.
From May 20 to 24, the dam accelerated its discharge rate to 10,000 cubic meters per second. The rate was then raised to 11,000 to 12,000 cubic meters per second on May 25.
The dam releases more than 200 million cubic meters of water per day, Liu said.
The country will make more efforts to minimize the dam's effects on the local ecological environment, Liu said, adding that every hydro project has pros and cons and the benefits of the dam outweigh its disadvantages.