Geologists predict more frequent catastrophes in China’s Three Gorges Dam region, after landslides wipe out a hydropower plant. Fan Xiao and Yang Yong, the authors of several reports for Probe International, speak to thethirdpole.net about a disaster-prone region made more perilous by intensive hydropower development and call for new risk assessments to be carried out.
An urgent overhaul of Three Gorges’ Dam management policy to enforce relevant regulations is needed to save various endangered species, improve the environment, and encourage economic development, say the authors of this paper. Xiankun Yang and X X Lu of the National University of Singapore discuss what we’ve learned from this controversial megadam over the past decade.
(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.
(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.
(September 1, 2012) The staggering costs of China’s Three Gorges Dam—the displacement of 1.7 million and counting, and a price tag six-times the original estimate—are well known. But the enormous project’s complicated operational demands are largely unknown, and they promise to get more vexing as more dams are built upstream. Power magazine looks at the complexities of delivering power from such large-scale hydropower plants trans-region, trans-province, and trans-basin and the pressing need for peak regulation, frequency regulation, and emergency reserves for hydropower plants.
(July 17, 2012) Probe International of Toronto has long been a critic of the Three Gorges dam project. Executive director Patricia Adams paints a scathing picture of the dam’s legacy so far in an article that appeared in the Huffington Post.
(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.