(May 6, 2010) After months of rumours, Chinese officials have confessed to plans to construct dams in a seismically-active and politically-sensitive region in Tibet’s Jiacha Canyon. The first dam — the 500-megawatt Zangmu hydroelectric project — is currently under construction and is the first of five planned for the scenic, 100-kilometre canyon on the Yarlung Tsangpo River.
(April 26, 2010) Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan have begun demolishing houses and forcing people from their homes near the Pubugou hydroelectic power project, which is due to go into operation soon. Chinese geological expert says the dam will increase the risk of devastating earthquakes.
(March 11, 2010) The large-scale construction that accompanied the building of the Three Gorges dam and its reservoir has increased the number of landslides—both new and reactivated—in the surrounding area. County seats recently built on land near the reservoir are now particularly prone to landslides. Local schools and residential buildings are already suffering cracked foundations and walls.
(February 16, 2010) As the rush to dam the Mekong river in Southeast Asia continues unabated, critics are fighting back by documenting the river’s elaborate ecology and economy–both of which are under siege from development.
(January 21, 2010) The Chinese government is preparing to push another 300,000 residents living near the Three Gorges dam off their land to make way for what officials are calling an “eco-screen, or buffer belt.”
(January 6, 2010) The much-promised electricity from the Three Gorges dam is failing China’s citizens when they need it most—during one of the most intense winter storms the country has experienced in decades. According to recent reports, the Chinese government is now urging the country’s factory operators to scale back operations to ensure sufficient power to heat homes, as demand has surged with the below-freezing temperatures.
(January 1, 2010) “The Yangtze River Tow Men” is the fifth in a series of oral histories from China’s Three Gorges region. — “When I was 10, I followed my dad into life on the boats. When I worked the boats then, we used to see a lot of cedar boats, really huge ones. It was only later that a few little steam ships appeared on the river. Older people used to say, “You can become a scholar after 10 years of study, but it’s nearly impossible to become a river man.” I remembered this my whole life—to try and be a true river man.”
(December 25, 2009) The villagers of Machuan, whose houses were bulldozed in August this year, were just the first of more than 330,000 Chinese peasants who will have to be delivered to new homes before the South-North Water Project is complete. At £37bn the project will cost more than twice as much as the Three Gorges Dam, delivering nearly 12 trillion gallons of water along three networks of tunnels and canals that will branch out into northern, eastern and central China.
(December 12, 2009) Powerful neighbour. A rising power. Old friend. Big, secretive investor. Big boy of the region. These were some of the terms participants at the just-finished Mekong Media Forum here used, when asked to share the images of China they get from the media.
(December 7, 2009) The social and political environment in the area around the Three Gorges dam remains tense, residents believe that more 50 percent of the resettlement funds were misappropriated by government officials and the problems from the project are not manageable and will plague the area as long as the dam stands, says Shi Ming, producer of the award-winning documentary, “Countdown on the Yangtze”.
(November 28, 2009) The recently completed Tekeze hydroelectric dam in Ethiopia is said to be the largest public works project in Africa. It also could turn in to the biggest blunder with disastrous environmental impact, as the investigative report below tries to illustrate. There is so much secrecy surrounding the project that it is not even clear who really paid for it, although the ruling Woyanne junta claims that it has provided all the funding.
(November 23, 2009) The vastly over-budget and long-delayed Tekeze hydro-electric in Ethiopia is finally finished. The project, which was first proposed seven years ago and was scheduled to be competed in 2008, in the end cost $360-million—$136-million over budget.
(November 22, 2009) Landslides have caused a go slow on filling the giant reservoir behind the Three Gorges Dam to capacity this month. As more unforeseen issues emerge, locals suffer the brunt of relocation and inadequate compensation, while experts predict further delays and problems – calling even the fate of the once mighty Yangtze into question.
(November 19, 2009) A recent report by Chris Buckley in Reuters offers more evidence that the final price tag for the Three Gorges dam will be far higher than officials admit. According to Buckley, a draft plan prepared for the central government says a backlog of problems created by the construction of the dam require an additional $24.9-billion to solve.
(November 19, 2009) The project has been plagued by corruption, escalating costs, technological problems, human rights violations, and resettlement difficulties. The dam has caused flooding to numerous archaeological and cultural sites, the displacement of about 1.24 million people, and significant ecological changes, including an increased risk of landslides.