The Three Gorges Dam Case Study

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Three Gorges Dam case study

The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Yangtze River, and is the worlds largest power station. As well as providing electricity, the dam is also being used to help increase the shipping capacity of the river, as well as reduce the risk of potential floods downstream by acting as a flood storage space. This major alteration is proving to have both positive and negative repercussions. How has building the dam effected local environment?

Despite the Chinese government being adamant that the dam’s positive attributes to the environment, local farmers, citizens and various groups of campaigners have voiced their concern on damaging impacts caused by the dam, including landslides which have consequently caused waves of 50 metres high in the reservoir directly behind the dam. It’s only been since September, at a government - organized conference that the severity of the impacts was touched upon without being dismissed as ‘abnormalities’. Many of the officials running the project brought up that erosion, landslides, environmental degradation and natural disasters have all become more frequent since the dam was constructed, with Wang Xiaofeng (deputy director of the Three Gorges Construction Committee) expressing that ‘We cannot profit from a fleeting economic boom at the cost of sacrificing the environment.” Tan Qiwei, vice-mayor of Chongqing next to the reservoir also state that the bank of the lake had collapsed in 91 places, and that the cause was the huge weight of water behind the dam as well as the differing water level. Local farmers have made similar statements, claiming ‘frightening tremors’ have left cracks in the walls of their home, and a landslide in Hubei Province alongside the reservoir killed over 30 people after burying a bus; heavily conflicting Mr Wang’s statement that ‘There will not be any major damage to life or property’. Water polluting is also a huge problem concerning this dam, with it being blocked...
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