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Case Study: Three Gorges Dam

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Brenda Echevarria

on 28 January 2014

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Transcript of Case Study: Three Gorges Dam

Case Study
Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam is notorious for being the world’s largest hydropower project; located between cliffs on the Yangtze River in central China
• Yangtze River=water supply
• China was warned that this dam would have serious negative effects on the environment and its people
• June 2003 (9 years after construction started): the state-owned China Yangtze Three Gorges Development Corporation (CTGPC) filled the reservoir with 445 feet of water
Full depth=575 feet
• Problems with project: plagued with corruption, spiraling costs, environment impacted greatly
$24-billion project made to serve as a “major source of renewable power for an energy-hungry nation and as a way to prevent floods downstream”
• The dam will generate 18,000 megawatts of power when it is completed
• Building a huge hydropower dam in an heavily populated area, threatens endangered animal and plant species, and is crossed by geologic fault lines (which could lead to an earthquake)
Benefits
The Three Gorges Dam will serve to protect 15 million people and 1.5 million acres of farmland in areas of the Yangtze River that are vulnerable to flooding. To do this, the water height of the reservoir upstream from the dam will change according to season. (i.e. During the dry season, the water level will be allowed to reach 185 meters above sea level, but during the flooding months, the water level will be reduced to 135 meters in order to attempt to contain flood waters); great economic development based on trade in areas near Yangtze River
The Three Gorges region=major part of western China's development boom
• Some effects: increased pressure on the land creating landslides, rise in waterborne disease, and a major decrease in biodiversity
outcomes
Landslides and mudslides:
It has already collapsed in more than 90 places
Many villagers have reported mudslides and cracks appearing in their backyards.
Changes in the weather
Researchers at NASA discovered that Three Gorges was creating a sort of lake effect, decreasing rainfall in the area around it, while increasing rainfall in the surrounding mountains.
Drought
The Three Gorges is causing drought by reducing water levels in the Yangtze River.
Earthquakes
Geologists fear that rapid changes in water pressure when the reservoir levels are changed during floodseason could activate already shaky ground and trigger an earthquake
Pollution
Homes, factories, mines and waste dumps will all end up underwater, along with their contents, which likely include toxic chemicals.
Heavy rains and flooding in 2010 washed tons of trash and litter into the reservoir, with garbage so thick it threatened to clog the dam.
positive effects
power
This hydropower station supplies power to the middle, eastern and southern China, that within 400 to 1,000 km economic transmission distance of the load.
Navigation
Located in the middle reach of Yangtze River, the Three Gorges Dam will largely improve the waterway conditions from Yichang City to Chongqing City.
alternatives
Dam opponents suggest:

raising of the existent levees and dikes
dredge of waterways,
the removing of polders,
the restoration of lakes, and
the construction of new diversion areas.

What's New?
Since the Three Gorges Dam has been built there has been a 5.1 magnitude earthquake and many floods.
The dam reached its maximum capacity in 2010 since then 1.4 million people had been moved.
As of April 2012 Another 100,000 people may be moved from the area around China's massive Three Gorges Dam because of landslides and bank collapses.
As of January 7 2014 many Latin American countries are becoming interested in the hydro powered dams.
There are now 22 hydro powered dams in latin America: 3 running, 7 still under construction and 12 still with plans being drawn up.
Sources
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-17754256
http://journal.probeinternational.org/2013/12/16/5-1-magnitude-earthquake-strikes-three-gorges-dam-region/
http://journal.probeinternational.org/2014/01/07/chinese-dam-builders-rush-to-latin-america/
http://www.raco.cat/index.php/HMIC/article/viewFile/57768/67739
http://www1.american.edu/ted/ICE/china-dam-impact.html
http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110525/full/news.2011.315.html
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/chinas-three-gorges-dam-disaster/
The Three Gorges Dam was made to create electricity, to control flooding and water storage for a population that is migrating from a sustainable existence to a more western urban culture
• As more Chinese give up farming, the more move into urban cities -> those cities need more electricity and water
Provided Jobs
Increased Tourism
Flood Control
so cute
It's like a
little
baby
unicorn
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