(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 4, 2012) As the fierce struggle between China’s hydropower industry and environmental conservationists rages anew, what has become clear in the meanwhile: the country’s rivers cannot sustain the current pace of development.
(June 6, 2012) Reporter Shi Jiangtao sounds the alarm on China’s dam-building frenzy along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, revisiting the findings of the 2011 Probe International study, “A Mighty River Runs Dry,” by geologist Fan Xiao.
(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.
(April 20, 2012) A report by the environmental group Probe International shows 20 dams in the upper Yangtze are in seismically active territory. But moving citizens could take some convincing. Those who have been relocated for the Three Gorges Dam have experienced trouble getting settled and finding work.
(February 8, 2012) Admissions of trouble at Three Gorges Dam by China’s powerful State Council last spring, left many wondering how the behemoth dam ever got off the drawing board. Now, in a first, behind the scenes, account of raw power politics, Guo Yushan from China’s Transition Institute describes how Three Gorges critics were silenced, and China’s power mandarins maneuvered, to build the world’s largest and most troubled dam. Read this translation by Probe International of the article that went viral on China’s Internet.
(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.
(June 29, 2011) The recent drought and the government’s mea culpa have refocused attention on problems at China’s controversial Three Gorges Dam. “The dam is becoming a symbol of all that is wrong with political decision-making in China,” says Patricia Adams of Probe International.
(June 4, 2011) The Washington Post features Probe International Fellow Dai Qing and cites Probe International’s expose of a 30-fold increase in earthquakes caused by China’s Three Gorges Dam.
The latest controversy over the Three Gorges Dam puts the lie to the notion that the advantages of a one-party autocracy trump political gridlock.
(May 27, 2011) When China’s State Council announced there were “urgent problems” with the Three Gorges Dam, Chinese voices – both powerful and common – started to question its role in seemingly unrelated natural disasters, reports Bloomberg.com. In one both dramatic and comical example of a trend towards airing negative views, the popular, nationalist Global Times quoted dam expert, Zhang Boting, who offered this unreassuring gem: “After the construction of the project, there were thousands of minor earthquakes, which actually helped release built-up seismic energy in that area and reduced the possibility of big earthquakes happening in the future.”
(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.”
(May 19, 2011) Amid power shortages and potential catastrophe, China admits to failings in the Three Gorges Dam. Probe International Fellow Dai Qing responds from Beijing.