Category: Yangtze Drought and Pollution

Flow test for water project gets underway

(May 31, 2013) The process of diverting water from the Yangtze River through the eastern route of China’s massive South-to-North Water Diversion Project began this week after 11 years since construction began. Although the water diversion intended for drought-prone cities in China’s arid northern regions “will enrich the water supply in the north, its impact on the ecosystem is irreversible,” said Ma Jun, an environmentalist.

China surveys Yangtze dolphin as extinction looms

(November 30, 2012) Chinese scientists have begun an expedition to count how many endangered finless porpoise remain in the Yangtze River. A similar survey in 2006 found only 1,800 of the animals, considered a national treasure, as well as a symbol of the mighty river itself and a reflection of the great waterway’s health.

Whitewashing the Three Gorges Dam

(October 15, 2012) Lauded by Chinese officialdom as a symbol of its growing might, the Three Gorges Dam had already been in operation for eight years when the Three Gorges Corporation issued its first-ever corporate social responsibility report. The release of the CSR report coincided with a wave of heightened concern surrounding the dam’s failings and impacts, and a rare admission by China’s State Council that all was not well with the jewel in its crown of modernity. A commentary by Li Tie at the time, published by China’s respected South Weekend, described the Corporation’s document as awash in insipid content” and exactly not what the public needed, which was honesty. Li even went so far as to say reports that did not respond honestly to widespread concerns, in effect, posed a threat to the nation’s social stability, leaving Chinese citizens more likely to place their faith in the country’s rumor mill than official documents they could not trust. Li’s misgivings appear to have only gained in resonance this year, as China’s recent summer of protest bears out.

Red Yangtze

(September 17, 2012) China’s famed golden waterway turns a disturbing red in the southwest region’s largest industrial centre. Speculation as to why runs the gamut from industrial dye dumps to an omen of biblical doom.

China’s new mega-dam is a mega-problem

(July 12, 2012) Almost 20 years in the making, China’s Three Gorges mega-dam was declared complete on July 4 when the last of its 32 generators went online, 10 years after the first turbine went into operation. There is no end in sight, however, for costs associated with the vast and controversial project, which remains closer to disaster than triumph.

A litany of troubles at Three Gorges Dam

To most observers, Chinese officialdom has supported the Three Gorges Dam without fail. But a closer look reveals growing worries about the dam which has become a symbol of all that is wrong with China’s rise. Here we present Chinese officials’ admissions of problems at Three Gorges, from the sensational mea culpas of senior officials to the subtly expressed worries of eminent scientists.

The Yangtze runs dry

(August 18, 2011) “The Yangtze River will run dry” because engineers have gone wild, building so many dams that the amount of water needed to fill all the reservoirs along the Yangtze would exceed the flow of the river. So says “A Mighty River Runs Dry,” a new study by geologist Fan Xiao of the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau in China. Because there isn’t enough water in the Yangtze to fill all the dams to their designed capacity during the impoundment period each year, “an enormous waste of money” will result, with potentially staggering losses to China’s economy, 40 per cent of which comes from agriculture, fishing, industry and shipping along the Yangtze.