Category: Yangtze Floods and Drought

Three Gorges aggravates downstream water shortage

(May 25, 2011) Contradicting official claims that the Three Gorges reservoir plays no part in exacerbating the drought in the Yangtze River basin, Ma Jun of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, a non-government organization, told Reuters: “Without the Three Gorges Dam, the water level in the Yangtze would not be that low.” Faced with the downstream drought crisis, Three Gorges officials have been ordered to release water, thus hampering their ability to generate power. Added Ma: “Fundamentally there is a conflict between hydropower generation and water supply, irrigation, and navigation.”

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Controversial Three Gorges dam has problems, admits China

(May 19, 2011) The world’s largest hydroelectric project was designed to tame the flood-prone Yangtze River and to generate clean energy. But the water is becoming polluted, and regular landslides are making life near the dam dangerous. Three Gorges dam is “a classic case in which government officials exaggerated the benefits and underestimated the risks,” says Patricia Adams of Probe International.

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.

Huang Wanli’s predictions for the Three Gorges come to pass

(June 12, 2010) Huang Wanli, renowned hydraulics engineer and Tsinghua University lecturer, first voiced his opposition to the large-scale damming of rivers by opposing the construction of the Sanmenxia dam in 1957. In the 1980s he became a vocal opponent of the Three Gorges project and contributed to Yangtze! Yangtze!, the important critique of the dam compiled by China’s celebrated investigative journalist, Dai Qing. Now, as the Three Gorges dam is beset by monumental operational problems, Huang Wanli’s prescient analysis helps explain why it was a mistake to build the biggest dam in the world. Read his 1993 interview with Dai Qing.

Flood closes down Yangtze Three Gorges ship lock

(July 30, 2007) The Yangtze River Three Gorges Navigational Bureau halted two-way traffic at the Three Gorges ship lock earlier this month as water influx into the dam measured an alarming 51,000 cubic meters per second, a result of continuous rainfall in the upper reaches. The lock, 6.4 km long and costing RMB ¥6.2 billion (USD $810 million), was built into the mountainous terrain on the northern bank of the Yangtze and has been the only navigable route past the dam since 2003.