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China’s “Three Gorges” Dam


Being built along China’s Yangtze River is the Three Gorges hydroelectric dam. It is heralded as the world’s largest hydro-electric project and is said to be completed by 00. Some Chinese are calling it the “modern Great Wall”. This dam will be 185 metres high and will have a kilometer concrete wall stretching across the world’s third largest river. It is now beginning to fill a reservoir that will be 1.1 kilometers wide and 600 kilometers long. It will be able to fill 40 billion cubic metres of water. The Three Gorges which it currently includes, are the Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge and the Xiling Gorge. The reason behind the construction of the Three Gorges is to provide China with inexpensive energy to support and strengthen its economic and social development. The dams will have two power stations that are expected to operate 6 of the world’s largest turbine generators. The total generating capacity of the dam will be 18 00 megawatts which is the same as the energy produced by 18 nuclear power stations or by 40 million tones of coal.


Just like every issue in the world, there are positives and negatives. One of the positives to the Three Gorges is that by controlling the flow of the Yangtze River, the dam will be able to let ship to navigate these rough waters more effectively. It will also expand the amount of shipping along this central part of the river by 10 million tonnes to 50 million tonnes annually, while bringing down shipping costs by 0 to 7 percent. This dam will also help control the frequency of floods, from once every ten years to once every 100 years. Supporters of the Three Gorges also have their opinions as to why it is positive. They say that controlling the flow of water, the lives of over 15 million people downstream will be protected, since there will be hardly any threats of floods. They say that this project is to provide China with large amounts of hydro electric power so that they will no longer rely on power from coal. This is very good because using coal damages the environment. One of the negatives to the Three Gorges is that it is expected to flood 8 400 hectares of fertile valley farmland. The people that use to live along the Yangtze River had to be moved to sites that are built on 5 degree slopes. This makes it very difficult for them to farm and to develop a community. Others had to be settled much further like in Shanghai and Xinjiang. Which are provinces in the northwest of China. Now these people will need new jobs or high quality farmland to make a living. Another negative of the Three Gorges Dam project is that it will change the river ecosystem for fish and wildlife. It may also be a threat to endangered species such as the Chinese sturgeon, the Chinese tiger, the Yangtze dolphin and the giant panda.


Along with the positives and negatives to the Three Gorges there are also the social, environmental and economical implications. The social aspect is that the Three Gorges reservoir will flood an area of 6 square kilometers, which will impact 65 townships in 1 cities, districts or countries in Sinchuan and Hebei Provinces. The dam is estimated to displace 1 million to million people as “reservoir refugees” There has been poor resettlement attempts, inadequate resettlement attempts and lack of consultation with resettled people. For the environment flooding will cover more than 1000 factories, hundreds of tourist and cultural sites and ancient temples and monuments. As well more than 50 types of pollutants from human and industrial waste that are dumped into the lake will not be washed away. Economically this dam project is very expensive. The estimate of the cost for completing the construction is 5 billion US. This results in moving money from other programs as well threatening China’s economic stability.


Custom essays on China


Overall the sustainability of this resource use has its good and bad. Many can argue and say it is a positive aspect being added to China and others can say it is a negative aspect to China. I do not believe this resource is being manages to the best of it’s ability because as soon as you are risking the lives of the people in the country and life of living you need to stop and realise the dangers of this. It may help one problem but may begin another. My main suggestions are to make sure that the people being relocated and satisfied and not in any danger. As well to make sure that they are not causing major environmental problems or allowing these problems to arise.





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