International business, management and engineering consultant High-Point Rendel is working on one of the most complicated and challenging water developments at the present time, the Xiaolangdi multipurpose project on the Yellow river in China.

When power generation began earlier this year it meant the massive undertaking was on target for the important transition from construction to operation.

The US$3B project is being financed by the World Bank, together with Chinese authorities, and comprises:

•A sloping core earth and rockfill dam with a crest length of 1677m and height of 154m, with a total storage capacity of 52M m3.

•Flood release structures comprise ten intake towers, nine flood and sediment tunnels and three two-cascade plunge pools.

•The power system includes six power tunnels and an underground power house.

The dam has been constructed by various international consortia including German, Italian, French and Chinese contractors. High-Point Rendel of the UK, in association with project consultant Canadian International Project Managers, is acting as commercial, contractual and planning adviser.

Located in the mouth of the last gorge in the mid course of the Yellow river, about 40km north of Luoyong in Henan province, Xiaolangdi is designed to reduce sedimentation, provide water for irrigation and generate hydroelectricity. In particular flooding will decrease from a 60- to 1000-year frequency, and jamming due to ice formation will be practically eliminated.

Preparatory works began in september 1991 and the river was diverted successfully in October 1997, as envisaged in the original schedule.