Category: China’s Dams

Garbage Country

(May 14, 2011) If China has a garbage crisis, and it does, then Three Gorges is likely its biggest dump.

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China and the Cascading Geopolitics of Lower Mekong Dams

(May 10, 2011) Much has been written on the downstream impact of China’s dams on the Lancang-Mekong River, which flows through or along the borders of five other countries after exiting China. Most of the discussion relates to the hydrological impact of impounding water in the eight dams along the mainstream Lancang Jiang in Yunnan Province.

Anatomy of a dam failure

(April 27, 2011) In the world of engineering, standards are the foundation on which everything else rests. An investigation following a catastrophic explosion at Russia’s largest hydropower station in the summer of 2009 revealed poor management and technical flaws to be at the root of the dam’s failure. A repaired turbine almost at the end of its life span, taken offline again because it still didn’t work, was forced back into service in an emergency: a move that would cost 75 people their lives. This Popular Mechanics investigation asks whether the United States, a country with hundreds of hydro plants in operation, might also be at risk of a Russian-style dam disaster. U.S. experts say not likely: the two countries are separated philosophically when it comes to safety and human life.

Dai Qing: On The Completion of the Three Gorges Project

(April 7, 2011) Dai Qing, Chinese investigative journalist and Probe International Fellow, delivered the following speech about the Three Gorges Dam project in November 2010 while on a speaking tour in British Columbia, Canada. In her address, she reports that the problems predicted by dam critics published in her books, “Yangtze! Yangtze!” and “The River Dragon Has Come!,” are now coming true.

China’s Mekong development costs neighbours plenty

(March 30, 2011) Communities dependent on the Mekong River for income and food say upstream dam development by China has disordered the river and endangered livelihoods.According to longtime residents who live alongside the river , topsy turvy tide flows caused by dam operation have brought floods, ruined crops, and made planning ahead impossible. With more hydropower projects on the cards, locals fear China is the only beneficiary of changes to the Mekong – a 5000 km waterway that flows through six countries.

Chinese geologist Fan Xiao’s open letter urging Chinese officials not to destroy rare fish reserve (translated by Probe International)

(March 25, 2011) Chinese geologist and environmentalist Fan Xiao has sent a letter to high ranking Chinese officials, urging them not to destroy the rare fish conservation zone they’ve created on the Yangtze. Plans are in the works to build the Xiaonanhai dam within the conservation zone, which would be the second time the Government redrew the zone to accommodate dams. Building the dam would violate the government’s own environmental protection rules, and would put over 100 rare species of fish at risk. He calls for public hearings and an administrative review, in hopes of convincing officials to abandon the plan.

Razing the Last Refuge

(February 10, 2011) Just before the Chinese New Year, Beijing-based non-profit group Friends of Nature wrote an open letter to members of China’s top government bodies – the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference – calling on them to urgently examine proposed changes to the boundaries of a national rare fish reserve on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.