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Three Gorges Dam

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The Three Gorges Dam, when completed, will be the largest dam ever constructed, spanning 2.3 kilometers and holding back more then 39 billion cubic meters of water (Three Gorges). In 2007, the population hit 1.3 billion. The strain on China’s resources is immense and because of this China has had to invest in many large projects throughout the country. One of its most important needs is energy. China’s power consumption in 2005 was 2.494 trillion kilowatt hours (Cunningham 327). China has built dozens of dams throughout the country in order to loosen the stress on their power grid (Three Gorges). China’s largest undertaking, the Three Gorges Dam also known as the Sanxia Dam on the Yangtze River will significantly alter China’s landscape. The Three Gorges Dam is receiving world wide recognition because of its enormous scale and the problems that are arising from it. China’s Three Gorges Dam is initiating positive changes to their economy, but negative changes to their environment and social well being. The Three Gorges Dam was designed to help China’s expanding economy and to control the violent Yangtze River. With a maximum output of 17,680 megawatts China’s Three Gorges Dam is the world’s largest power project (Three Gorges). The dam has been a dream of Chinese leaders Sun Yat-Sen, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping over the past 80 years. The dam is said to be a “symbol of the superiority of the socialist system” according to China’s parliament (International Rivers). When the project is completed in 2008 it will be the world largest dam and hydroelectric power plant, which will hold back more water then any other dam in the world. Currently the Brazilian Itaipu Dam is the world’s largest hydroelectric dam with an output of 12,600 megawatts of power, but the Page 3

Three Gorges Dam, when completed in 2008, will surpass this number with an output of 17,680 megawatts (Edmonds 67). The Yangtze River has always been a problem for China, flooding frequently and...