Category: Dams and Landslides

Tapping the source: China and the Mekong river

(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.

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Three Gorges dam fails to provide during winter storm

(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.

The Yangtze River Tow Men

(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.”

China redirects trillions of gallons of water to arid north

(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.

Filmmaker says problems from the Three Gorges dam are here to stay

(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”.

Ethiopia’s Tekeze Dam fiasco

(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.

A Damned Dam

(November 17, 2009) For fifteen years, Three Gorges dam officials have been looking forward to the day they could declare the dam – the world’s most spectacular, and controversial, engineering feat – finished and operating at full capacity.

More landslides likely as Three Gorges reservoir rises

(November 9, 2009) The Three Gorges reservoir will face an increasing number of landslides and other geological dangers if government officials persist in raising the level of water to its maximum height, says a report by Caijing magazine. The report, citing a research paper by the Chongqing Political Consultative Conference, says the higher the reservoir, the greater the risks will be for geological hazards.