The Three Gorges Dam (by anusri)

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The Three Gorges Dam (by anusri)

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The Three Gorges DamBy: S.Anusri 103 (29)

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At 1.4 miles long and 607 feet high, China’s Three Gorges Project is one of the biggest hydropower-complexes in the world. Opened in 2009 and costing an estimated $24 billion, the dam spans China's Yangtze River in the Yichang, Hubei Province. A 640-km-long reservoir has been created behind the dam wall. The dam can generate up 22 500 MW of electricity.

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Hydroelectric Power:The Three Gorges Dam has a power generation potential of 84.7BkWh/yr, which is equivalent to burning 50 million tons of coal or 25 million tons of crude oil. Thus, the switch to cleaner and renewable hydroelectric power would have the effect of cutting 100 million tons of carbon dioxide, up to two million tons of sulfur dioxide, ten thousand tons of carbon monoxide, 370,000 tons of nitrogen oxide, and 150,000 tons of particulates annually from the atmosphere.

Disease- The dam basin has a diameter of several kilometers, and this massive pool of partially standing water is perfect breeding ground for malaria, "snail fever," and many others.- It will cost China a huge amount of money to control the outbreak of diseases.

Flood Control:- The Three gorges Dam's flood control capacity is as large as 29 billion cubic yards which will protect the Jingjiang River and the middle or the lower reaches of Yangtze River. If severe floods happen, the big dam can hold the water and discharge the flood, which wins time for transferring personnel to avoid loss of life.- The Three Gorges Dam can efficiently control the water from upper stream and reduce the flood in Dongting Lake during the flood season, thus the threat of flood to Dongting Lake can be relieved.-This will result in saving a huge amount of money usually spent on repairing flood damage.

Resettlement of people:-1.2 million people have been relocated for the dam and its reservoir.-Of the 1.2 million relocated so far by the Three Gorges Dam, 500,000 are peasant farmers, many of whom earn just 1/3 of the World Bank poverty level of $1 per day. The resetllers were not offered substantial compensation to cover the cost of new housing. Most were moved into to urban centers near Chongqing, or into the new cities built specifically for relocation, on steep unstable slopes that have now been determined unfit for development or farming.

Navigation Improvements:- The 600km long waterway from Yichang to Chongqing will be improved, making it possible for 10,000 tons of fleet to sail directly upstream to Chongqing.- The elevated water levels will enable ships of ten thousand tons can sail directly from Chongqing to Hankou and further to Shanghai.- Due to the improvement of the navigable waterways, the ship size and fleet size are accelerated standardization and large-sized, and the transport costs can also be reduced.-These navigation improvements help to increase trade, open new markets, create jobs and encourage economic activity.

Flooding:-The Three Gorges Dam has flooded 13 cities, 140 towns, 1352 villages, and 100,000 acres of China’s most fertile farm land. The agriculture areas along the river have produced nearly half the countries total crop production. The farm land lost had provided 40% of China’s grain and 70% of rice crops. - 1,300 archeology sites have also been flooded, including that of the ancient Ba civilization that settled in the Three Gorges area over 4,000 years ago. Only some of the artifacts of these archeological sites have been preserved; the rest are lost beneath the 185 meter depth of the reservoir behind the dam.

Ecosystem Disruption:-The giant hydroelectric dam serves as a physical barrier that disrupts the river ecosystem. In addition to water pollution, habitat fragmentation will have a detrimental affect on all species within the Three Gorges Dam area. In an environmental impact assessment, it was determined that there are 47 endangered species in the Three Gorges Dam area that are supposed to be protected by law. Two of the most popular marine animals in China, the Chinese River Dolphin and the Chinese Sturgeon are included in the list of species at risk. Ecosystem disruption poses not only environmental problems, but economic problems as well. The physical barrier interferes with fish spawning, and in combination with pollution, the dam will have a serious impact on the fishing economy of the Yangtze River.

Tourism:- As the water rises, many scenic spots which were originally hard to enter are now reachable. For example, in Dangyang River, the branch of Madu River, a new sight of "small three gorges" appears. The White Emperor City, which was hidden in the thick forest in the past, becomes a beautiful island standing in the center of the river. The big scenery change will attract more and more visitors to explore the Three Gorges.- This will provide economic benefits to China.

Siltation, Erosion and Landslides:- The fertility of the farmland downstream will be reduced, affecting the production of crops and farmer's income as sediments and silt containig nutrients will accumulate behind the dam and will not reach the farmland downstream.- deforestation resulted in an increase in greenhouse gases, erision and landslides. Thus, threatening millions of lives in the area.

Dissatisfaction Towards Goverment:- The Government forced people to relocate, prosecuted protestors, suppressed opposition, and denied human rights to many relocates.- Many cases of corruption and peculation of resettlement funds by local authorities were reported.This caused people to become dissatisfied with the goverment.

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