Three Gorges Dam
Three Gorges Dam Yangtze as one of the biggest hydropower-complex project in the world, ranks as the key project for improvement and development of Yangtze River. The dam is located in the areas of Xilingxia gorge, one of the three gorges of the river, which will control a drainage area of 1 million km2 , with an average annual runoff of 451 billion m3 . The open valley at the dam site, with hard and complete granite as the bedrock, has provided the favorable topographical and geological conditions for dam construction.
In addition to their scenic beauty, the Three Gorges are rich in water resources. They are the most ideal section of the Yangtze for building large water conservancy projects for the comprehensive exploitation of the river. The deep gorges and steep mountains on the banks of the river present superabundant potentials for power generation. The Three Gorges Project that is being under constructed will effectively control the torrential flow on the upper reaches and free the middle and lower reaches from the threat of flood.
One and a half miles wide and 610 feet tall, the gargantuan Three Gorges Dam is China’s largest construction project since the Great Wall. The People’s Republic of China decided toThree Gorges Dam the Yangtze in 1994 with a steel and concrete wall that would take 15 years and over $30 billion to build. When completed, the Three Gorges Dam will contain twice the amount of concrete of the Itaipu Dam in Brazil, currently the world’s largest. It will create a five trillion gallon reservoir hundreds of feet deep and about 400 miles long, able to absorb an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale. It will allow 10,000-ton freighters to easily navigate into the nation’s interior and increase agricultural and manufacturing opportunities. As the world’s largest hydroelectric power plant, the dam’s turbines are expected to create the equivalent electricity of 18 nuclear power plants.
China’s central government revived talk in the mid 1980s about the construction of a Three Gorges Dam along the Yangtze. In 1919 Sun Yat-sen, the father of modern China, originated the idea of a hydroelectric dam in the Three Gorges. Chairman Mao Tse-tung proposed the idea of ‘surprising the goddess of Wu Gorge by creating a huge man-made lake between the deep canyons.’ The ‘Great Leap Forward’ officially spanned from 1958 to 1960, but dam construction in China became increasingly frequent after 1950. Only 23 large and medium scale dams and reservoirs existed in China before 1949. Soon after they became commonplace and today China has more than 20,000 dams over 15 meters high, the most of any country in the world. While critics of these developments are quick to point out that millions of people have undergone resettlement and dam collapses have caused many fatalities, advocates emphasise that these dams have been a helpful power source and a solution to flooding for the Chinese people. The Chinese government seeks technological advancement and much needed energy that the dam will provide, and has announced that it will invest US$7.2 billion in the construction of an electricity grid to be fed by the project. Nine 100 km long power lines will deliver 18 200 MWe over several regions. The Three Gorges Dam is scheduled to be completed in 2009, and as construction continues, objecting voices continue to sir a whirlwind of controversy.