China Pollution

The Three Gorges Dam: Do recent floods indicate flaws?

The Three Gorges Dam’s flood control performance continues to generate scrutiny. Jonathan Green for The Market Mogul asks how effective has the dam been period.

In this look at the overall effectiveness of China’s Three Gorges Dam, Jonathan Green for The Market Mogul assesses how the dam has performed in terms of emissions, flooding and the impacts of the project overall.

Green concludes that methane gas released during operation of the dam, in addition to the fossil fuels used in the production of tons of cement for its construction and the forests cleared for its creation have drastically reduced its effectiveness at lowering emissions. Reduced forest cover also exacerbates the impacts of flooding. Meanwhile, after completion of Three Gorges, “the average level of the Yangtze River has decreased to such an extent that much of Central and Eastern China are experiencing droughts.” And this July, writes Green, has seen “the worst floods since 1998”. Green notes dam supporters blame poor urban planning and drainage, while critics wonder if the project “was an exercise in futility”. Sediment build-up behind the dam has also led to riverbank collapses downstream. Tourism gains to the dam reservoir region are offset negatively when the loss of culture and archaeological relics are considered, as well as the threat of pollution to the Yangtze River’s ecosystem and species survival.

Read the full-text report by Jonathan Green here at the publisher’s website

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