China says quake changed colour of Brahmaputra water

China says quake changed colour of Brahmaputra water

China says quake changed colour of Brahmaputra water
China on Tuesday said an earthquake measuring 6.9 on Richter Scale in its Tibet Autonomous Region on November 18 was responsible for rise in turbidity in the water of Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) - a trans-boundary river it shares with India.

Xie Liyan, spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi, said it was due to the earthquake at Milin County of Nyingchi City in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and the consequent landslide that the water in Brahmaputra had turned excessively muddy in its lower reaches in India.

She dismissed reports in a section of Indian media that the water had turned muddy as China had embarked on massive construction projects in its upper reaches, either for building a big dam or a tunnel to divert its water.

Xie on Tuesday shared the findings of an investigation by the relevant departments of the Chinese government. She said the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Bend Region had been "seriously affected" by the November 18 earthquake, resulting in shattered land surface, reduced vegetation and soil exposure. "Massive landslide and collapsing occurred along the Yarlung Tsangpo river range, causing negative impacts on the water quality of the river. Indeed, water in the Motuo sector of Yarlung Zangbo River turned turbid," she said.

"The change of colour in the lower reaches of the river should have been caused by natural factors including earthquakes, rather than man-made incidents, and there were no artificial lakes in relevant parts of Yarlung Tsangpo river," said Xie.

The waters of river Siang (Yarlung Tsangpo) had turned muddy and slushy right from Geling (the point where it enters India from China) in the Upper Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh.

Siang joins Lohit and Dibang rivers downstream and turns into Brahmaputra in Assam.

Ninong Erring, a Congress MP from Arunachal East constituency, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi a few weeks ago, drawing his attention to the rise in turbidity of waters in Siang. He noted that Siang turned murky just a few weeks after certain media reports brought to light Beijing's plan to build a 600-kilometre underground tunnel to divert water of the river to Taklamakan desert in north-west China.

Xie said that Bejing would "stay in touch" with New Delhi "on the issue concerning trans-border rivers through existing channels".
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