Scary article, TC. I hadn’t thought about reservoir wall cave ins (See the Viant Dam Disaster) but Three Gorges may lead to some pretty nasty quakes. I’d sure love to have a look at the concrete, which can’t possibly have been well laid, and the grouting, which surely had spots skimped on as well.
Another problem with the Dam I read about was the devastating effect on the hydrology of the Shanghai area – wetlands gone, and on the East China sea fisheries. Some scary shit. Reminds me forcibly of two other Soviet style projects – the massively stupid Aswan High Dam, with a similar effect on cultural relics, and the Henan Dam Collapses. To wit:
[quote]About a half hour later, shortly after 1 AM, the Banqiao Dam on the Ru River was crested. Some brave souls worked in waist-deep water amidst the thunderstorm trying to save the embankment. As the dam began to disintegrate one of these brave souls, an older woman, shouted “Chu Jiaozi” (The river dragon has come!) The crumbling of the dam created a wall of water 6 meters high and 12 kilometers wide moving. Behind this moving wall of water was 600 million cubic meters of more water.
Altogether 62 dams broke. Downstream the dikes and flood diversion projects could not resist such a deluge. They broke as well and the flood spread over more than a million hectares of farm land throughout 29 counties and municipalities. One can imagine the terrible predicament of the city of Huaibin where the waters from the Hong and Ru Rivers came together. Eleven million people Throughout the region were severely affected. Over 85 thousand died as a result of the dam failures. There was little or no time for warnings. The wall of water was traveling at about 50 kilometers per hour or about 14 meters per second. The authorities were hampered by the fact that telephone communication was knocked out almost immediately and that they did not expect any of the “iron dams” to fail. [/quote]
The Wiki page is fascinating – the authorities actually bombed dams in a desperate attempt to prevent water from building up:
The future of Three Gorges? Just wait until those fuckers dam the Mekong.