Last update:

Xiluodu Dam and giant landslide, Yunnan and Sichuan, China

The second biggest dam after the Three Gorges project is likely to have contributed to reservoir-induced earthquake and massive deadly landslide.


“The China Three Gorges Corporation has developed important technologies including precise blasting, digital cooling and grouting, intelligent vibrating and temperature control, which ensured no temperature cracking during the 6.8 million cubic meters dam concrete pouring.” “The innovative ideas and technologies of the Xiluodu Project have given the project a leading position in the world in intelligent construction of mass concrete structures, which has successfully solved the dam crack problem, a world class difficult issue,” said Professor Luis Berga, Honorary President of International Committee on Large Dams [4].

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Xiluodu Dam and giant landslide, Yunnan and Sichuan, China
State or province:Yunnan and Sichuan
Location of conflict:Xiluodu in Yongshan County (Yunnan) and Leibo County (Sichuan) and other counties
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The height of the Xiluodu reaches 285 metres, with a crest elevation of 600 metres, its reservoir capacity is 12.67 billion cubic metres and its total installed capacity is 13,860 MW. the reservoir is 200 km long and average width of 700 m. Total cost approached 10 billion USD.

See more
Level of Investment for the conflictive project10,000,000,000 [2]
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:180,000 directly displaced people
Start of the conflict:07/2013
Company names or state enterprises: China Yangtze Power from China
Voith Hydro Holding GmbH & Co. KG from Germany
Siemens from Germany
C-EPRI Electric Power Engineering from China
Alstom from France
China International Water & Electric Corporation (CWE) from China
China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG ) from China
International and Finance InstitutionsChina Development Bank (CDB) from China
Asian Development Bank (ADB)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:International Rivers
Green Earth Voluteers (lv jia yuan),
Green River (lv se jiang he)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Complaints because of risks of earthquakes
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Acconding to Fan Xiao, "This landslide reminds us, once again, that when impounding and operating large reservoirs in a geologically disaster-prone region like western China, full consideration should not only be given to the interests and needs of hydroelectric power production, but also to the environmental impact and the effect on geological hazards. In the first phase of reservoir impoundment, especially, it’s imperative to allow for a sufficient observation and grace period, and to be really careful in regards to the timing and rate of filling, and the dropping of water levels. During reservoir operation, the timing, volume and rate of filling and lowering of water levels should also fully consider the environmental impacts on downstream areas. And, generally, the monitoring and management of reservoir induced seismicity and other geological disasters must be strengthened.". Fan Xiao is the Chief Engineer of the Regional Geology Investigation Team of the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Good article in Nature (vol 513, issue 7517) quoting various sources. " Chinese data hint at trigger for fatal quake. Seismic activity started to rise just as two giant reservoirs on upper Yangtze were being filled with water". Jane Qiu

10 September 2014
[click to view]

Yueping, Y., Bolin, H., Shichang, W., & Jinhe, L. (2015). Potential for a Ganhaizi landslide-generated surge in Xiluodu Reservoir, Jinsha River, China. Environmental Earth Sciences, 73(7), 3187-3196.
[click to view]

[1] Probe International - Giant landslide likely caused by Xiluodu Dam impoundment

[click to view]

[2] Hydroworld - 13.86-GW Xiluodu hydroelectric project prepares for El Niño effect

XILUODU, Yunnan, China

[click to view]

[3] International Rivers - Xiluodu and Xiangjiaba Dam the Lower Jinsha River
[click to view]

[4] Nepal Energy Forum - On the World’s Top Level of Dam Intelligent Construction
[click to view]

[5] The Third - Yunnan earthquake linked to dam-building, says Chinese geologist
[click to view]

[6] The New York Times, Chinese Dam Projects Criticized for Their Human Costs

[click to view]

[click to view]

Wikipedia - Xiluodu Dam
[click to view]

Power-Technology - Xiluodu Hydroelectric Power Plant, China
[click to view]

Xiluodu Dam, Jinsha River, China (tecnical description of the dam)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

China Dilogue. Yunnan earthquake linked to dam-building, says Chinese geologist. Liu Qin 20.08.2014. 中文版本 The earthquake that devastated Yunnan province on August 3 is linked to world’s largest and most intensive dam-building scheme on the Jinsha River, says geologist Yang Yong.
[click to view]

Other comments:Two other sources:
Meta information
Contributor:Daniela Del Bene, ICTA - UAB
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2639
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.