The Three Gorges Dam

The Three Gorges Dam
In this piece of coursework, I will be studying about the Three Gorges Dam. The Three Gorges Dam is to be located on the Yangtze River near the city of Yichang in China. The dam project is set at a cost of 17billion pounds. China is one of the worlds worst hit flood areas. The Yangtze River is the longest river in China. It is very unpredictable and frequently floods the surrounding lands killing thousands of people and disrupting the community?s way of life. Because of this, the government had to crate a way to tame the river. The building of the three gorges dams was the solution. The dam will also boost Chinas hydroelectric project. It is set to be the world?s largest hydroelectric project and will include 26 generators that will produce over 18000 megawatts of electricity. The expectancy is also that it will bring 10 000-tonne ships to travel as far as Chongqing. The project will promote the development of fishery in the reservoir, tourism and recreational activities. It will improve the water quality of the middle and lower reach of the river during the dry season; and it will bring favourite conditions into being for the scheme of South to North trans-basin water transfer.
The Yangtze River has over the centuries been used as a travel highway for Chinese ships and sea transport. It is the world?s third longest River behind the Nile and the Amazon. It is 3, 964miles long. Across the centuries, its fertile banks have been used as farmland by the local people and are inhabited by millions of people. Location: The chosen site for the project is in Sandouping, northwest of Yichang city in Hubei Province and is located at the downstream entrance to Xiling Gorge, 40 kilometers upstream from Gezhouba Dam. The dam comes with advantages and disadvantages. The advantages have already been mentioned above. The disadvantages are mostly environmental. The natural beauty of the area will be lost, as it will be cleared to make way for the dam. The dam will be built at an enormous cost and it will result in over 2 million people being relocated to new lands. [image] [image] the chinese floods OF 1991 Between late May and early August 1991,China suffered severe floods affecting 18 provinces. There was widespread destruction and loss of life. Between 206BC and 1949 the frequency of flooding in china was one in two years, that is a total of 1902 major floods between the mentioned periods. Flood prone areas are shown in the middle and lower parts of Chinas major rivers. The Yangtze River and the Songhia River were mainly the cause of the floods. [image] Causes of the flooding ====== Excessive rainfall was the major factor. One area, the Anhui Province received 35-50% of its annual 1200mm between a month that is between 18 May and 16 June. Reservoirs were too full to cope with the floods because the floods were too early large proportions of China were hit at one time. Silting in rivers had reduced the carrying capacity of the rivers. Most rainwater was channelled into the lower parts of the rivers. Intensive agricultural land use resulted in increased surface run-off because inward infiltration was reduced. Effects of the floods =====
206 million people were affected
Chinas bread basket province of Anhui was worst hit and
4.35billion kilograms of grain were lost
Cities were drowned
1100 factories were forced to suspend production
Infrastructure including roads and bridges and hospitals and
schools were damaged.
Chinas grand canal was closed after embankments collapsed,
suspending trade and tourist traffic
Flood barriers were destroyed
Here is a report form one news agency website-www.archive.greenpeace.org worst floods this century IN the yangtse river. 1,000 die, 10 million are made homeless, and some 20% of China?s croplands are submerged. Chinese scientists blame the floods on global warming. Flooding since May has killed around 1,800 people and affected more than half of China?s population of 1.1 billion, across central, eastern and northern China. Exceptional rainstorms fall in eastern China throughout June and into July. The Yangtze River overflows its banks in many places and threatens Shanghai and Nanjing. The floods result in over 1,300 deaths and some 10 million homeless people. At one stage 20 percent of the croplands of China are estimated to be under water. Rainfall from June to mid-July reaches amounts more than half the average annual rainfall. The worst floods in 50 years in east China cause an estimated $800 million damage. Health authorities express concern at the rapid spread of water-borne dysentery, typhoid, hepatitis and malaria as two million homeless people camp in unsanitary roadside camps. More than half the summer wheat crop in east- central China is destroyed. Chinese scientists blame the early arrival of the floods on global warming. Relief and aid after 1991 floods. Information taken from www.tapei.tzuchi.org Li Kashing donated US$50 million dollars In July, Tzu Chi set up an account that would accept donations to help victims Master Cheng Yen donated US$15 000 in August From October to December a fund raising event was held until December Tzui Chi members donated 19 687 coats to 22 counties and towns 1635 cotton coats and pants and 984 comforters were delivered to Xinghua, Jiangsu in December 11451 cotton coats and pants, 5776 comforters, 858 825 kilograms of rice and ermegency cash were distributed to Xi county Hena Province. 23 988 coats and pants, 16 425 comforters , 374 100 kilograms of rice were distributed in eight towns in Gushi county also in Henan Province; relief helped more than 40 000 people. In Quanjiao, Anhui province, 19 131 coats and pants, 1059 comforters, 72 000 kilograms of seeds, 900 tonnes of fertiliser and money delivered to 1955 poor old people 945 refugees are housed in houses built by Tzu Chi funds 568 households and 148 homes completed History of the project Project was first proposed by Sun Yat-sen in 1919 but the idea was dropped due to political and economic hardships. Major floods brought the idea back to life again in 1954. Arguments were brought forward whether or not to build the dam. The then Vice Ministrer of electric power in China Lin Yishan eventually concluded that the project must not go ahead because of the high costs involved. Other social and moral iussues like flooding of cities and farmland were brought up against the idea. In 1958 due to favourable political climate, Lin Yishan head of the Yangtze Valley Planning office favoured the construction project. Then Chinese leader, Mao Tse Tung also had the vision of the world?s largest hydro-electric dam in China. The construction ended as one of the consequences of the disastrous Great Leap Forward. The idea wsa resurrected in 1963 and was shelved again in1966 due to the Cultural revolution. In 1969 threat of attack from the enemy that was the Soviert Union further delayed the construction of the dam. Econmic reform in 1978 resulted in the need for more electrical power. Environmenatal and social concerns were once again an obastacle to the dam project. In 1989 the project was yet again suspended for a further five years after which time plans and preparations for the final phase of the project were drafted. Since 1993 major construction has been going on the project. Building of the dam The project is located in Sandouping, Yichang, Hubei province. It is estimated that the total cost will be $24billion dollars (American dollars). The functions of the dam as earlier stated will be to generate power with capacity of 18.2 kilowatts, flood control and improved navigation. Construction timetable 1. 1993-1997-Yangtze river diverted 2. 1998-2003?-first batch of generators begin to generate power in 2003 and a ship lock is scheduled to open for navigation. 3. 2004-2009??entire project completed in 2009 by which time all 26 generators are expected to be able to generate power. Fund sources for the programme 1. Three gorges dam construction fund 2. Revenue from the Gezhouba power plant 3. Policy loans from the China development bank 4. Loans from domestic and foreign commercial banks 5. Corporate bonds Model for three gorges project[image] A relief channel first built to the side of the river to allow water to be diverted while the dam was being built. . a 185m wall will be built on the dry riverbed to block the river between the hills resulting in the creation of a lake that will submerge the three gorges , Qutong, Xiling and Wuxia. I.1million people will be displaced by the project. Contoversy Projects of this magnitude tend to be marred by many contoversies. This one is no exception. Certain news agencies and organisations reckon that the dam will create an estimated 2 million refugees and it will put to threat human health. It will also flood homes and many cultural sites. Of notable importance is the unwillingness of the World bank and the US Export and Import bank to fund the project. Claims also suggest that warnings given by project critics are being ignored. It is also reported that the project has resulted in te improsonement, harrasment and censorship of citizens whose views are against those of the officials. A lot of corruption is also reportedly involved in the project. arguments for and against proposed dam project ========== Different viewpoints on the three gorges dam The project has its supporters and opponents. All viewpoints neede assment before considering the imapct the project would cause. On a positive note, the project would generate economic development in China through power generation. On a negative note it will cause environmental and social unrest. Many residential dwellings like towns, cities and villages will be flooded. 23 800 hectares of farmland will be submerged. These pints need to be weighed out so as to draw the most appropriate and accomodative decision that will be acceptable to all parties invloved. People likely to benefit from the project ========= 1. Chinese officials as project is likely to improve the economy 2. Unemployed persons as they are guaaranted a job in the construction 3. Chinese people as a nation as project is likely to improve standards of living and electricity capacity for the whole nation People likely to suffer as a result of the project ========== 1. farmers who have long resided on the land and lose their livelihood to make way for the project 2. the Chinese tax payer as any government funds going into the project come directlt from the taxpayer. 3. local people whose villages and cities are flooded 4. tourism officials as the project will bring to hault any tourism activity in the area. Farmers viewpoint ===== Many farmers will feel that valuable fertile land will be be lost. Many will be concerned about the prospect of being moved from land which has been their livelihood over generations and generations. The fact that the land has been family property will cause moral distress among families as many ancestral graves will be flooded and exposed. The farmers will be wary of the lands on which they will be located as they are most likely to be away from fertile river banks. The amount of compensation given to many will seem an uneven replacement of the loss of their valuable resource, their land. The prospect of unemloyment will cause many to feel cheated as it will be hard for them to make a living. Chinese official?s view ======= The official is likely to feel that the water conservancy project and the hydropower will greatly develop the economy of the country. Hi side of the argument will be based on the fact that the dam will generate 9% of China?s current electricalcapacity. The project will also be seen as reducing the emission of atmospheric polluatnts because hydropower is nonpollutant. The buildfing of the dam will also be seen as a natural remedy to the thousands of deaths that occur as the dam will tame the river. He or she wil feel that though farmers are likely to be disadvantaged by the project, their sole existence cannot be allowed to retard the economic growth of the country. Environmentalists view ====== They are likely to raise concern about the fact that the dam will flood over 12 000 cultural and archaeological sites some dating back to the Palaeothic age. Important fossils buried at the site will not be excavated in the short time given. They will also feel that the beauty of the area cannot just be given away. The breathtaking gorges will cease to exist. 112 rare species of aquatic and marine life will be endangered to extinction. Of notable importance is the Chinese allligator, the dolphins and the paddlefish. The amount of water held by the resevoir is lilely to trigger violent disturbances in the bowels of the earth causing earthquakes that would devastate the surrouunding lands and also put the dam itself at risk. pros cons The dam increase China?s electricity capacity by over 9% Farmers will lose their valuable lands Many jobs will be created as a result of the project Rise in water held by reservoirs will trigger internal earth movements High death rate due to flooding will be reduced Chinese taxpayer will suffer high taxes to raise funds for the project Navigation along the river will be greatly improved Loss of marine and aquatic life Farmers will be offered money in return for the loss of their land Sediment will build at the dam reducing its capacity. Endangered species will be resettled in reserves There will be an increase in water pollution caused by boats and ships Project will improve the economy Many will be left unemployed at the end of the project The building of this dam may seem very beneficial in economic and political terms. But looking on the negative side, there are forces that if seriously considered might put the whole dam project into shame. On the positive side, the dam would create jobs. This will be the situation until the dam is completely built. However this will create a big problem for the government at the end of the project in 2009. The massive number of people will have to be re employed in other industries. The hydro project will not be able to accommodate all of the people who took part in its creation. Many will be left unemployed and standards of life will drop. By taming the river, the high deaths and flooding will be reduced. The disadvantage of this will be that the fertile banks of the river will become infertile because the floods that were promoting the fertility of the river will no longer be reaching the banks. The river will allow large ships and boats to navigate with great ease. This will boost the tourism industry in the area. Also water transport will be improved. Trade and industry will also promoted, as goods will be easily transported across. One of the major positives is that the dam will generate hydroelectricity. The dam will have a capacity of producing up to 18 000megawatts of electricity. This will greatly reduce China?s dependency on coal. This will as well benefit the environment because water is a non-polluting like coal. Here are some pictures of the three gorges program showing some of the benefits the program will bring [image] Floodgates will reduce flooding [image] power and lighting [image] Water life and water sports [image] Beauty to the environment or surrondings [image] Hydroelectricity poles [image] Water transport system [image] Tourists visiting [image] Power for industry [image] [image] [image] [image] The Three Gorges Dam Project from a Systems Viewpoint [image] [image] China is the world?s largest coal producer and user. By building the three gorges hydroelectric project, it will cover up for 15 nuclear power stations. These collectively use up 50million tons of coal. The atmospheric pollutants released are:
100 million tons of carbon dioxide
10 000 tons of carbon monoxide
2 million tons of sulphuric dioxide
370 000 tons of nitrogen oxide
Huge amounts of fly ash
Here are additional facts about China?s ?destructive? coal industry
1.2billion tonnes was mined in 1995
Forecast of rise by 1.4billion in the year 2000
Coal makes up 75% of all energy consumption in China
Because of this, China is at high risk of acid rain. This is inclusive of humans, animals and vegetation. As a matter of fact, respiratory diseases are the number one killer in China. The project will at least help counter all these problems and reduce China?s dependency on fossil fuels. On a negative note high water levels in the valleys around the dam much of China?s mainland is at risk. Its valleys, cultural places, burial sites and archaeological sites will be buried in the overflowing waters. Cities and villages will be no exception. [image] The line on the picture shows the level of the high levels of rising water the dam will cause. Much of the lands that will be used for resettlement are unsuitable because they are about 800metres seal-level, at which point the temperatures are unsuitable for farming and the climate is much colder. The dam will also suffer from high levels of silting. The carrying capacity of the river will be greatly reduced. This will be a long-term effect of the dam project. conclussion I have finally come to the end of my coursework this piece has looked at the three gorges project from all angles and I have tried to cover the controversies involved in the project. Firstly as already said, the project dates back into the early 20th century when it was stopped or haulted due to political and economic reasons. The project resumed full force in 1993 and has been going on to this very day. My opinion on the matter is that the two major parties that play a major role in the project must reach a compromise where everyone is catered for. The politicians and the economists on the one hand and the historians and the environmentalists on the other must join hands in this project. In my view, the government cannot afford to lose all the cultural and archaeological sites as they represent the vast and dignified history of the Chinese nation. On the other hand environmentalists cannot retard the growth of China economically and politically. I generally think there is a balance in between the benefits and the problems. The dam will provide much needed employment. This will increase the living standards for many. At the same time many will be displaced by the project. Towns and cities will be lost in the process. The dam will reduce the deaths resulting from flooding. At the same time it will raise concern on earthquakes. While the dam will help develop China?s economy, this will not come at a cheap cost (expected expenditure=£25billion). The tourism industry will benefit from the construction of the dam. At the same time the dam will result in earthquakes. The dam will reduce Chinas dependency on fossil fuels. This will benefit the environment, as harmful substances released into the atmosphere by Chinas vast coal industry will be lowered. I generally conclude that the dam project must go on. This is because China has a very big population and because that the country has high-energy needs. By using hydropower the harmful effects of gases that cause global warming will be released. Many of Chinas people will benefit. I also think that the farmers must not complain because the government will pay them compensation. The government must make sure that rare species of water-life are transferred to reserves to make sure they are not lost. While working for improving the country, I feel that the government has no right to deny people the right to say what they feel is right for their country. Corrupt leaders must be arrested and the government has to work with people because the same people elected it. The government must not charge too high taxes from the people to fund the project. It must try to do fundraising projects and seek assistance from other sources to fund the dam. People who are displaced by the project must be offered accommodation. I feel that if all the above suggestions in utmost faith, then the three gorges dam will be a success for China and the larger world.

The Three Gorges Dam 8.9 of 10 on the basis of 1575 Review.