Three Gorges Dam is a disaster in the making, China admits

I’ve been watching this since the days when it was first proposed. IMO it has been a cultural and environmental debacle.
I’d like to see some discussion from others who have some views about this project. Yay or Nay about it.

As I say, IMO, the devastation of ancient China alone was reason enough to have this project proceeded with in a different manner. And the intended benefits may never come to fruition.

All of which Dai Qing highlighted years ago in her book Yangtze! Yangtze! (揚子!揚子!), which contained a collection of articles by some of China’s leading scientists. And she copped ten months in prison for her efforts.

However, the most damning part, erh, no pun intended, should have been that the Three Gorges Dam was the brain child of a man trained in Soviet hydrology . . . just to be clear on this, they were the dudes that turned the Aral Sea into a fetid faecal duck pond.


I think the problem is one of pride, not intent.

That a dam could have provided both electric power and some protection from the flooding of the Yangtze is a good thing.

Where they screwed up was in the dick-swinging, we’ve got the biggest dam in the world, and hell with everything and everyone that gets in our way (ie populations, villages, cities, and archaeological sites). Was it really necessary to build one big, bad-ass dam? Could they have achieved the same results with several smaller dams?

Actually, it’s long been known that the river is prone to flooding because of the loess soil that the river carries from the west adds to the elevation of the river so that the river is eventually higher than the plains around it the effects of flooding greater and flooding easier.

[quote]Actually, it’s long been known that the river is prone to flooding because of the loess soil that the river carries from the west adds to the elevation of the river so that the river is eventually higher than the plains around it the effects of flooding greater and flooding easier[/quote].

I believe you may be confusing this fact (Yellow River not Yangtze).

“Beware of what you ask for, you may get it.” 活該 !!!

Should be framed and sent to all the relevant CCP VIPs who signed off on this project. A bunch of geniuses :bravo: :bravo:

I travelled up the Yangtze from Wuhan to Chongqing back in 1997 before the dam was built. The scenery along the three gorges was superb and relics of the ancient past can be seen dotted sporadically along the shoreline. It’s all gone now…sadly.

Along the trip, the cruise ship went through the Gezhou Dam at the city of Yichang (Hubei province). It’s a moderately sized dam that seem to be operating quite well. Even then, the tour of the dam depicted its negative effects on the aquatic life in the area. Something as large as the Three Gorges Dam can only be orders of magnitude worse.

I agree with TC, preserving ancient China alone is a good enough reason to seriously modify how this project should have been executed.

Perhaps some officials, having already stolen most of the funds to relocate people away from the area flooded by the dam, are looking for a way to move people back in and steal the funds for that, too.

Can’t be too far off to take a look at New Orleans and what a once-in-a-hundred-year natural water disaster could do to a place that was supposedly man-made (dyked) fortified against 2 monsters (Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River).

In another side-topic, I wonder how all the “new” buildings that have been built in China since Deng’s 1979 “glorious to be rich” speech was made will stand up to a serious earthquake that China for centuries has been susceptible to? The 921 Chi-Chi earthquake exposed all shoddy type of construction in central Taiwan (empty cans in the concrete mix part of the structure. I saw it with my own eyes).

Anyway, agree. can’t trust Communists to build structures to survive natural disasters. Too many corners that communists like to cut.

Taroko nearly underwent a similar fate, luckily it was spared:


The trail was originally built by Taiwan Power Company in 1984 during the early stages of their plans (approved for construction in 1979) to develop hydroelectric power in the area, plans that included damming many parts of the gorge in ways that would have destroyed within years. The hydroelectric project for this area at least was shelved. So Taroko survived and we got a road that makes it easier for us to get into this once remote area with our various trapping of civilization.[/quote]
Taroko National Park > Natural Resources > Scenic Spots

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.


and the now extinct white dolphins, which admitttedly were on the way down anyway with all that pollution.

Here’s the fisheries thing:

Another article, somewhat of a puff-piece, on the 3-Rivers Dam.

Three Gorges: A River Runs Through It, for Better or Worse
By Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 7, 2007; P06

China could be the most scenic country in the world minus the pollution. If the CCP wanted to showcase nationalism, showing off the country’s beauty with clean air, water, and land would serve this purpose better than building one pointless dam.

This is a grave dig, but it’s relevant…

This has been a terrible year all around, and it’s about to get worse. Both upstream and downstream of the Three Gorges Dam are flooding, and the dam might not be able to withstand the flood.

If the dam breaks, it’s not just the people along the Yangtze that are going to suffer. Severe climate change will impact everyone.


Millions, like 600 million people at least, would need to be evacuated.

This would really become China’s Chernobyl if it happens.

And yes, this year has been bad. But something this awful is unthinkable. Yet, the red line has been crossed…


The “notable water expert” quoted in the Taiwan News writes regularly in the Epoch Times about the looming disaster of the Three Gorges Dam, for at least 10 or more years. He lives in Germany.


Actually, in Chinese news they were saying that the water limit line had been surpassed by 2 meters already at the dam.

And Global Times says everything is fine…

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They don’t live there. :angry:

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