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Three Gorges Dam on Yangtze River


Title: 2013 China s Geography Powerpoint Author: Kim Barben Last modified by: Kim Barben Created Date: 2/12/2013 3:51:50 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Three Gorges Dam on Yangtze River

Three Gorges Dam on Yangtze River
  • China gets 5 percent of it energy and 20
    percent of its electricity from hydro energy.
    China already has many dams and has plans to
    build lots more. Share of the worlds dams 1)
    China (45 percent) 2) the United States (14
    percent) 3) India (9 percent) 4) Japan (6
    percent) Other countries (26 percent).
  • China boasts nearly half of the worlds 50,000
    large damsthree times more than the United
    States and construction continues.
  • Twenty major dams punctuate the Yellow River and
    another 18 are scheduled to be built by 2030.

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Today, China has more than 20,000 dams over 49
feet high the most of any
country in the world.
  • The worlds three largest dams
  • Three Gorges (China) 18,200 megawatts
  • Itaipu, Brazil and Paraguay 12,600 megawatts
  • Grand Coulee Dam (U.S., Washington State)
  • 10,000 megawatts

Reasons to Build Dam
  • Improve navigation along the Yangtze River. Major
    Highway for movement of coal, other goods and
  • Prevent seasonal flooding which used to cause
    loss of life and property along river.
  • Provide hydroelectric power desperately needed
    energy for growing population
  • Reduce dependence on coal with environmental and
    health and safety issues

Idea was first proposed in 1919
  • Sun Yat Sen first proposed building a dam
  • on the Yangtze (Chang Jiang).
  • The idea was shelved due to unfavorable
  • political and economic conditions.

  • 1919- The Three Gorges projects was first
  • Work was halted and restarted many times
  • December 14, 1993 US Bureau of Reclamation
    terminated the agreement for technical services
  • Due to economic and environmental impacts

Three Gorges Dam
  • In 1994, the Chinese government began
    construction on the Three Gorges Dam.
  • At 1.4 miles long and 630 feet high (roughly the
    height of a 50-story building), it is the world's
    largest dam.
  • It produced a giant lake, or reservoir, 350 miles
    long and holds more than a trillion gallons of

General Facts
  • Took 17 Years to complete
  • Cost about 59 billion
  • Worlds largest hydroelectric project
  • Generates 22.5 gigawatts of power
  • Enough to power Pakistan or Switzerland

Three Gorges Dam Facts
  • The resulting 400 mile long reservoir will supply
    enough water to generate 84 billion
    kilowatts-per-hour of electricity.
  • The dam wall is made of concrete and is about
    2,309 metres (7,575 ft) long, and 101 metres
    (331 ft) high.
  • The wall is 115 metres (377.3 ft) thick on the
    bottom and 40 metres (131.2 ft) thick on top.
  • The project used 27,200,000 cubic metres of
    concrete, 463,000 tonnes of steel, enough to
    build 63 Eiffel Towers, and moved about
    102,600,000 cubic metres of earth.

  • Largest construction project since the Great Wall
  • A 610-ft. wall will run
  • about 1.3 miles from
  • bank to bank
  • Major source of electrical power for China
  • Produces 18,000 megawatts the equivalent to
    about 15 20 nuclear power plants or 10 big
    coal-fired power stations burning 50 million tons
    of coal.

Satellite View of Three Gorges Dam at Yangtze
River using Google Earth Data
View of the largest hydroelectric dam in the
world.Three Gorges Dam crossing Yangtze River at
Sandouping, Yichang, Hubei province, China.
Conflicting Goals and Problems
  • Flooding, Dam-Building, and Related Issues
  • Chinas Yangtze River is an important resource
    (3rd largest volume)
  • The Three Gorges Controversy
  • Chinese government wants to dam the Yangtze
    (Chang Jiang) River with the largest
    hydroelectric dam in the world
  • Purpose control floods generate electricity
  • Problems Will jeopardize animal species, flood a
    major scenic attraction, and displace up to 2
    million people

As the dam fills and the valley is flooded, towns
and villages like this on the hillside are at
risk of being destroyed. Where do people from
these places go?
The city of Wuchan will be flooded to the red
arrow line when the reservoir is completely
filled. The water level will be elevated
574 ft. above Yangtze River surface.
  • Ship lock consist of 5 locks each
  • 918 ft. long
  • 35 ft. wide
  • With a water depth of 16.4 ft.

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Towns and villages have had to be destroyed to
build the dam.
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Building the dam how has the dam affected these
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This is what the dam looks like now.
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Flooded Towns being replaced by new apartments
above the 175 m water level
Collecting garbage from the flooded cities
Displaced people are moved up the slopes or sent
to other areas of China. Families separatedNew
bridges replace submerged onesNew building often
on old landslip areas due to shortage of flat
land for building
Reservoir Induced Landslides caused by buildup of
groundwater inside sediments along side of Gorge.
Three Gates Gorge Dam
Note High Silt Load of River
Note Re-emergence of agricultural land due to
silting in of reservoir.
Positives/Benefits of Dam
Positives Flooding Control
  • The Three Gorges reservoir acts as a buffer and
    can lessen the risk of floods.

Positives Flooding Control
  • Massive floods have killed many people
  • 1931 145,000 people killed
  • 1935 142,000 people killed
  • 1954 30,000 people killed, one million lost

Positives Flooding Control
  • By storing waters that would have causes floods,
    the long-term benefits are endless.
  • This massive effort will allow the government to
    control the river's chronic flooding, which
    caused more than 2,000 deaths in 1998 and left
    nearly 14 million people homeless.
  • Improved flood protection along the Yangtze
  • To control flooding downstream on the East China
  • Every so often these plains are devastated by a
    major flood where a thousand people die, a
    million lose their homes and 5 million have to be
  • The government built dozens of sewage and garbage
    treatment plants.
  • Since, 1951 run-off in the Yangtze Basin has
    decreased by over one third.

Positives Flooding Control
  • In 1998 flooding in the area expected to be
    controlled by the dam resulted in 4,000 dead, 14
    million left homeless and 24 billion in economic
  • Historically, the people living along the Yangtze
    have suffered tremendous losses due to flooding
  • In 1954, 30, 000 more died in the floods or from
    diseases brought on by the flooding and 19
    million people were affected directly or
    indirectly and part of the railway could not
    function for 100 days
  • Lessen the frequency of large floods from once in
    10 years to once in 100 years.

Positives Flooding Control
  • In 1998, a flood caused billions of dollars in
    damages, killed 1, 500 people, and flooded 2,000
    square kilometers of farmland, and affected about
    200 million people
  • 1998 flood resulted total loss of about 25
    billion Euros
  • In 1931, 145,000 people drowned and over 300,000
    hectares of farmland was flooded

Positives Water Shortage Issue
  • It will produce a giant lake, or reservoir, 350
    miles long and hold more than a trillion gallons
    of water.
  • The reservoir will increase water availability
  • There will be more water available for
    irrigation, industrial uses, and human
    consumption in the Yangtze River Basin and in
    water-deficient northern China to about 400
    million people

Positives New Tourism
  • In addition, ocean vessels will be able to travel
    farther inland, which will boost trade and
    tourism, and hydroelectric power from the dam
    will generate inexpensive electricity, thereby
    cutting greenhouse gas emissions and the use of
    coal and fossil fuels.
  • Reservoir will boost tourism because tourists can
    reach natural views and vistas by the locks that
    they were not able to do before

Positives Navigation and More Trade
  • To move water to the arid north.
  • To improve shipping so the ocean-going ships can
    reach Chongqing.
  • By building the dam, it increases the depth of
    the Yangtze River and would allow ships to travel
    6000 kilometers farther upstream
  • River shipping through central Yangtze estimated
    to increase from 10 million to 50 million tons a
    yr., with transportation costs cut by 30-37

Positives Navigation and More Trade
  • In 2006, 50 million more tons of cargo moved
    through the system up from 18 million tons before
    the dam was built
  • In 2007, the 50 million was exceeded
  • Shipping costs should drop by 35 to 37
  • The ship locks system is the largest in the world
    and will allow larger ships to travel carrying
    more cargo
  • The navigation locks allow 10,000 ton ships to
    travel the river, where before ships carrying
    only 1,500 tons were limited.

Positives Power Source
  • It would supply much needed electrical power for
  • Once operational, the dam will produce the energy
    of 15 nuclear power plants.
  • The electricity generated by the Three Gorges Dam
    will reportedly illuminates half of China
  • Its 26 700-megawatt turbine generators have a
    productions capacity equal to the energy produced
    by 18 nuclear plants or the burning of 40 million
    tons of coal.
  • Will provide energy to 60 million residents
    currently without power.
  • Hydroelectric is cleaner than coal burning and
    nuclear waste.
  • Ozone protected from greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The dams total electric generating power will
    ultimately be 22, 500 megawatts, enough to power
    millions of homes and provide a large portion of
    Chinas energy needs.
  • The worlds largest hydropower project and most
    notorious dam.
  • When complete, the project will generate one
    ninths of Chinas power.
  • It is the worlds biggest man-made produce of
    electricity from renewable energy.
  • Hydropower is the centerpiece of one of Chinas
    praised green initiatives.
  • Dams are much cleaner producers of electricity.

Positives Power Source
  • The Three Gorges Dam is to be an anchor in a
    string of hydropower megabases planned for the
    middle and upper reaches of the Yangtze River.
  • By 2020, China wants to nearly triple its
    hydroelectric power.
  • Hydropower is one of Chinas richest and least
    tapped energy resources.
  • Presently, China only uses about ¼ of its
    hydropower potential.

Positives Power Source
  • To ease its addiction to coal which accounts for
    67 of Chinas energy supply and pollutes
    horribly, China wants 15 of the countrys energy
    consumption to come from renewable resources by
  • Presently, it is about 7.5.

Positives Power Source
  • It is believed if the Three Gorges Dam produced
    electricity at full capacity it would prevent the
    Chinese people from
  • Burning more than 50 million tons of coal a year
  • Producing more than 100 million tons of carbon
  • Producing more than 1.2 to 2 million tons of
    sulfur dioxide
  • Producing more than 10,000 tons of carbon
  • All contributing to the air pollution problems in

Positives Revenue Generated
  • Dams are a huge business in China
  • China has acquired the know-how to build large
    hydropower schemes, and has begun exporting
    similar projects around the world
  • Giant utilities that build them are funded with
    government and private investment money
  • When the corporation building the Three Gorges
    Dam publicly listed in 2003, on the stock market,
    their share prices surged by 45 and the company
    raised nearly 1.2 billion dollars in one day

Negatives of Dam
Negatives Resettlement Issues
Roughly 70 percent of the countrys 10.2 million
"reservoir relocatees" were still living in
"extreme poverty after the resettlement.
Negatives Resettlement Issues
  • Chinas highest state body warned that the Three
    Gorges Project has caused some urgent problems
    in terms of environmental protection, the
    prevention of geological hazards and the welfare
    of the relocated communities.
  • Some villagers in Fengjie Country were relocated
    to a new village site less than a mile away but
    were not given enough compensation to get new
  • Ms. Han said We only have 10,000 yuan or 1300
    and with such a small amount of money, I cant
    even build a first floor.

Negative-Resettlement Issues
  • Originally required 1.3 million people in a 405
    square mile area
  • Over ten towns will have to be flooded to build
    the dam and people will have to move.
  • The government says 1.3million people, others say
    up to 3 million.
  • As of 2007, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao the dam has
    displaced more than 23 million people
  • 20,000 people have just been relocated for the
    second time due to this project
  • Originally resettled in 1998 to Huangtupo
  • Relocated again in August 22, 2012

Negatives Resettlement Issues
  • Number of Displaced or Resettled People Varies
    1.3 million, 4 million, or now the total over all
    the years of 40-80 million
  • 43 of the people are farmers and there was not
    enough good farmland to give to them to
    compensate for their losses
  • Flooded 13 cities, 140 towns, and 1, 350 villages
  • Homes, factories, farms, fisheries, and ancient
    temples lost now under water
  • Some of the people are given financial
    compensation and moving expenses.
  • Others are given either new farm land or new
    factory jobs.
  • Much of the new farm land is barely usable and is
    located on steep inclines requiring excess
  • Critique of the resettlement plans is prohibited
    in the media.

Negatives Resettlement Issues
  • Most of the promises to provide land to farmers
    and jobs to displaced city residents have not
    been met
  • When given land, the plots were small and barren
  • Many have been sent to live in urban slums
    without money, jobs, or houses
  • Another 530,000 people will have to be relocated
    by 2020 in order to relieve pressure on the
    fragile reservoir slopes

Negatives Resettlement Issues
  • Studies show that the regions population density
    is almost twice the national average.
  • The resettled farmers are in villages with too
    many farmers perched on steep slopes and sharing
    too little land

Negatives Cost to Taxpayers
  • Since 1951, the run-off of the Yangtze Basin has
    decreased by one-third.
  • Droughts have prevented the Three Gorges Dam to
    generate electricity at full capacity.
  • Not reaping the benefits form the cost of
    building the dam
  • In 1992, the dam was to cost about 9 billion
  • However, this number increased to about 37.2
    billion dollars.
  • Dai Qing, a critic of the project, not estimates
    that the final cost will be about 88 billion

Negatives Cost to Taxpayers
  • Not only is this project supposed to take more
    than a dozen years to complete, its cost will
    range in between 17 billion and 100 billion.
  • China will spend about 40 billion yuan to build
    at least 150 sewage treatment plants and 170
    urban garbage disposal plants due to the dam

Negatives Loss of Historical Sites and Treasures
  • Money that was to be allotted to underground
    archaeology has not come through
  • Robberies are a problem at there is no security
    or surveillance of sites
  • Artifacts of dubious origins have begun to
    surface on the market like a Han Dynasty bronze
    spirit tree that sold for 2 million Euros in 1998

Negatives Loss of Historical Sites
  • Destroyed 1300 archeological sites.
  • Flooded many historical sites.
  • Reduced tourism.

Negatives Landslides
  • Number of hazards had risen 70 since water
    levels in the reservoir reached 175 meters
  • This very likely means landslides are becoming a
    large concern
  • Water is added or taken out of the reservoir
    depending on the season
  • This has caused the banks to soften, making
    landslides very likely

Negative Landslides
  • Landslides killed at least 48 people in 2007
    across this area
  • Landslides can also wipe out houses very easily
  • The shore of the reservoir has already collapsed
    in nearly 100 places by the end of 2009

Negatives Landslides
  • The upward migration of farmers has led to
    deforestation that has lead to soil erosion and
    destabilized hillsides.
  • Construction crews are reinforcing crumbling
    hillsides above the reservoir with concrete
  • In the village of Pinaggo, when it rains, the
    soil starts flooding downhill.
  • In Fengjie County, officials have designated more
    than 800 disaster-prone zone araes
  • Several thousands of people have had to be

Negatives Landslides
  • In Jianmin Village, the mountain began to buckle
    as a landslide swept it
  • 20 homes were demolished
  • The people living in those homes five months
    later were living in a tent fending off rats and
    with nothing
  • To block cold air, they pin down the tent flaps
    with rocks
  • They are too poor to buy an apartment in the city
    or to build a new home on higher ground
  • The local government gave the tents to live in
    and villagers donated clothes

Negatives Earthquake Tremors
  • The Three Gorges Dam sits on two major earthquake
    fault lines.
  • In 2006 over seven months, scientists recorded
    822 tremors around the reservoir
  • Reservoirs are know to have triggered earthquakes
    all over the world.
  • While the dam is built to withstand a strong
    earthquake, the houses, schools, and buildings
    along the river are not and millions are in

Negatives Earthquake Tremors
  • A tremor shook Pinggao like jelly leaving cracks
    in several farmhouses.
  • When the rainfall is heavy, due to the structural
    weaknesses created by the tremors, the houses
    sway and the roofs collapse

Negatives Weather Patterns
  • Has changed weather patterns
  • Rainfall has decreased near the damn and
    increased in the nearby mountains
  • Temperatures have dropped in the mountains by 1.2
    degrees Fahrenheit
  • Attempts to increase the water level 175 meters
    in the fall of 2009 resulted in drought
    conditions downstream
  • Crops failed and freighters were stranded in mud

Negative Pollution
  • The water is going to pollute the human waste is
    not being treated, the industrial waste is not
    being treated.
  • Could possibly be an open sewer the length of
    Lake Superior
  • The river will not be able to flush the pollution
    down because it will be a still body of water.

Negative Pollution
  • In September 2007, government officials admitted
    that if preventive measures are not taken, there
    could be an environmental collapse.
  • Pollution from industry, agriculture, and
    households is causing frequent algae blooms in
    the reservoir.
  • The government built dozens of garbage and sewer
    treatment plants but most of them are not in
    operation because the local governments do not
    have the money to operate them.

Negative Polluted Water
  • Factories, mines and waste dumps were submerged
    in this water
  • Increasing urban growth along the reservoir
    caused waste water discharge to double
  • Waters are brown
  • Over 265 billion gallons of raw sewage are dumped
    into the Yangtze annually.
  • Currently the river flushes this downstream and
    out into the ocean.
  • Upon completion of the Three Gorges project, the
    sewage will back up in the reservoir.
  • Water flow has slowed down
  • Makes its ability to purify itself deteriorate

Negative Polluted Water
  • The city of Chongqing releases nearly one billion
    tons of untreated wastewater into the Three
    Gorges reservoir each year because the government
    did not finish building and running the promised
    sewage and garbage plants

Negatives Wildlife
  • The coastline will be eroded.
  • The altered ecosystem will further endanger many
  • The river, no longer free flowing, will become
    very polluted once the toxins and pollutants are
    slowly released from the cities.
  • 14,500 hectares of agricultural land will be
  • The dam will act as a barrier causing the flow of
    sediments to slow and downstream fisheries and
    agriculture will be deprived of much need
  • Ecological impact endangered species will be
    affected the giant panda, Yangtze dolphin,
    Chinese alligator, Chinese sturgeon, Chinese
    tiger, and Siberian crane.
  • Interrupted the fish migration
  • Altered the rivers chemical balance,
    temperature, and velocity
  • The dam has driven the Chinese river dolphin to
  • More species now endangered (Chinese and river
    sturgeon, and the Chinese Paddlefish )

Negatives Wildlife
  • The dam has driven the famous Chinese River
    Dolphin to extinction.
  • Populations of sturgeon, river sturgeon, and
    Chinese paddlefish have become endangered.
  • Commercial fisheries in the Yangtze River and off
    the rivers mouth in the East China Sea have
    declined sharply.
  • The dam blocks migration of fish and access to
    spawning grounds
  • 27 of all of Chinas endangered freshwater fish
    are in the Yangtze River basin
  • A 2003 study identified at least six species of
    fish at high risk of complete extinction
  • Another 14 species are endangered
  • Another 24 species are close to be on the
    endangered list
  • Commercial harvest of four species of carp are
    well below pre-dam levels

Negatives Silt Issue
  • Critics claim The Yangtze will add 530 million
    tons of silt into the reservoir on average per
    year and it will soon be useless in preventing
  • Because of the buildup of silt load in the
    reservoir, the Yangtze River now flows faster
    downstream and is eroding the levees.
  • It has reversed the dams flood control benefits.
  • The silt is being withheld from downstream areas.
  • After the dam was completed, the sediment load at
    the rivers mouth dropped form 1/3 its previous
  • Due to this, four square kilometers of coastal
    wetlands are being eroded each year.
  • Seawater is intruding up the Yangtze and
    destroying arable land and threatening drinking
    water supplies.

Negatives Silt Issue
  • Silt accumulation has steadily reduced the
    capacity of other Chinese dams to store water and
    reduce electrical generation
  • Planners of the Three Gorges Dam estimated that
    sedimentation could become a problem upstream in
    the city of Chongqing within 20 years

Negatives Erosion
  • The Yangtze River deposits its silt into the
    Three Gorges reservoir now it flows faster
    downstream eroding the levees in the Yangtze
  • The Three Gorges reservoir levels fluctuate
    between 145 and 175 meters, this destabilizes the
    slopes of the Yangtze Valley creating a serious
    risk for landslides and erosion.
  • Erosion affects more that half of the reservoir
    area and 178 kilometers of riverbanks are in
    jeopardy or collapsing.

Negatives Political Corruption
  • Widely believed that contractors won bids through
  • Many of the materials used in construction are
    below standards to lower overall costs.
  • Head of the Three Gorges Dam Economic Corp. sold
    jobs in the company, took out loans for the
    project and disappeared with the money in May
  • Resettlement officials were caught embezzling
    funds from the Resettlement Program in January
  • 12 of the resettlement budget has been embezzled

Negatives Political Corruption
  • A displaced resident told the Financial Times,
    Our lives have been ruined by the dam while the
    big officials got their fruit and filled their
  • The Chinese government has had to prosecute
    hundreds of government officials for corruption
    and embezzlement.
  • 300 government officials have been found guilty

Negatives Government Corruption and Not
Keeping Promises
  • China has created stronger environmental
    protection laws and regulations, however policies
    lack a clear public participation procedure.
  • Fines for violating environmental laws low and
    not enforced.
  • Despite the experience when creating the Three
    Gorges Project China still wants to increase its
    hydropower capacity. This could demonstrate
    disastrous for Chinas major rivers the Upper
    Yangtze, Lancang (Mekong), and the Nu (Salween).

Negative Government Crackdown on Protests
  • 100,000 people protested the Pubugou Dam Project
    in the Sichuan Province and the riot police were
    called in and brutally crushed the protest
  • The leader of the protest was executed for his
    role in the death of a policeman.

What would these people think about the Three
Gorges Dam?
  • Government Official---You represent the interests
    of the Chinese government with its economic
    growth and power source issues your main focus.
  • Environmentalist---You are concerned about the
    ecological impact the dam has on China.
  • Farmer--- You live near the banks of the Yangtze
    because you take the water from the river to
    flood your rice fields.
  • Business Owner Specializing in Trade---You own a
    shop on the banks of the Yangtze. You provide
    the local village with general goods that people
    cannot grow or produce themselves. Yours is the
    only shop in the village.
  • Tourism Director---You work with the government
    and an international travel organization called
    Trafalgar Tours. You wonder if the dam will be
    good or bad for tourism.
  • Shipping Corporation--- You are the head of a
    major shipping business in China that handles the
    transportation of manufactured goods produced in
    China within the country and abroad.