(May 16, 2014) Lake Poyang, the largest freshwater lake in China, has in the past decade suffered record low water levels and its worst drought in 60 years. Although uneven rainfall patterns and industry on the lake are partly behind the decline in volume, the Three Gorges Dam has emerged as a major cause of the lake’s shocking dry-up. On a recent trip to China, Mu Lan, the editor of Probe International’s Chinese Three Gorges Probe news service, explored the link between Poyang’s crisis and the country’s hydro colossus.
(May 16, 2014) Mu Lan, the editor of our Chinese Three Gorges Probe news service, documents in pictures the decline of China’s largest freshwater lake on the southern bank of the Yangtze River in east China’s Jiangxi Province for his report, “Is the Three Gorges Dam to blame for extreme drought in the Lake Poyang area?”
(October 12, 2013) This Economist report looks at the gravity of China’s water crisis, once summed up by Wang Shucheng, a former water minister as: “To fight for every drop of water or die: that is the challenge facing China.”
(November 20, 2012) Poyang, China’s largest freshwater lake, is experiencing a dramatic drop in water levels as a result of drought exacerbated by the effects of ongoing climate change — a dry-up that began in earnest in 2003, according to a report published by China’s state-run Xinhua news agency earlier this year. What the report doesn’t acknowledge is that 2003 also coincides with the year reservoir filling began at the Three Gorges mega-dam 500-km upstream of Poyang, on the Yangtze River. Responding separately to Xinhua’s claims, noted Chinese geologist and environmentalist Fan Xiao points to operations at the dam, as well as rapid development of the Yangtze’s upper reaches, as the culprits behind the distressing changes Poyang and other Yangtze tributaries are experiencing: expect worse, he warns, but not because of climate change.
(August 20, 2012) A severe test of the Three Gorges dam’s capacity to withstand a major flood peak in July initially showed the mighty dam ready and able. However, downstream areas found themselves at higher risk when floodwaters were released by the dam. Meanwhile, upstream areas are impacted when the dam holds floodwaters back. This article looks at the many pressures, and potential disasters, weighing on the ability of China’s biggest dam to fulfill its design mandate and asks: is July’s flood peak—the biggest test of the dam so far in its nine-year history—just the start?
(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.
(July 6, 2012) Experts fear a proposed dam cascade slated for the Jinsha River, a tributary of the upper Yangtze River, could spell disaster. Reports on dam construction in western China’s seismic hazard zones and the risks of over-damming, released by Probe International earlier this year, are highlighted.
(May 11, 2012) Chinese hydropower magnates plan to build 25 new dam reservoirs on the Yangtze’s upper reaches despite warnings of seismic risks from dam-building overload in the area, and in spite of recent evacuation efforts due to the threat of geological disaster at Three Gorges.
(April 24, 2012) The Three Gorges Dam project was supposed to energize the Three Gorges region but a new study from Probe International reveals the dam is jeopardizing a once spectacular gorges region and water tourist idyll, and has drained the area’s vitality, stability and ecology.
(November 28, 2011) China’s Academy of Social Sciences says the Three Gorges Dam is not to blame for this year’s devastating drought. That is wrong, says Probe International’s Patricia Adams, who explains why Three Gorges is making downstream water shortages a chronic problem.
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.
(September 21, 2011) The Three Gorges Dam faced a test as torrential rain upstream caused the year’s largest flood crest.
(August 31, 2011) Financial rewards for bypassing dam safety procedures have
created an unrestrained dam-building boom in China that is threatening lives and the
(August 24, 2011) One of China’s premier investigative news agencies reveals China’s dams “are like ticking time bombs:” beset by disaster, flaws, poor construction, neglect, and fraud.
(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.