The Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam is an unfinished project which will be the largest dam ever constructed on the planet Earth. It is situated in China on the third largest river in the world – the Yangtze. The dam has been debated over since the 1919 and is still a hot topic of debate because of its many pros and cons. In 1994 construction began on the dam, and it is expected to be finished by the year 2009. The massive dimensions of the dam are mind boggling and its functions – if the dam actually works – are truly remarkable; however, with such a large structure also comes difficulties, sacrifices, and cynics. The goal of this essay is to lend an understanding of the dam itself, the prospective benefits of the dam, and the potential drawbacks; this will provide the reader with a solid knowledge base to ascertain whether the dam will be advantageous or detrimental to the country of China.
The debates started in 1919 when a man named Sun Yatsen proposed the idea of a dam on the Yangtze for power generation. Since then the debates over whether or not to build the dam have not stopped. Since the early nineties when the project was finally approved the mission has seemed to be very scandalous. “It was believed that contractors have won bids through bribery and then skimped on equipment and materials to siphon off construction costs.” Because of these corrupt cost cuts the parts of the dam have been poorly built. “The Chinese media recently reported several incidents in which corruption and poor construction have led to disasters at major building sites. Notable among the reports was the collapse of a steel bridge in the city of Chongqing in January 1999 that killed 40 people.” The scandalous nature of the dam is just one reason among many that cynics oppose the dam. In 1994 the actual construction of the dam, and preparations for resettling people began.
“The Three Gorges Dam will be the largest hydropower station and dam in the world, with a 1.2 mile stretch of concrete and a 370 mile-long reservoir and 525 feet deep.” To put that into understandable dimensions it will be the length of the Golden Gate Bridge, and twice as tall. “The reservoir created by the backflow of the dam will extend 360 miles up river to Chongqing, a distance equal to nearly half the length of California.” So what is the point of this monstrosity? The major prospective benefits will be power generation, flood control, and increased navigability of the Yangtze River. Many people debate whether these attributes will actually be as beneficial as builders expect. The drawbacks of the dam are its flood plain and the effects of the flood plain, environmental damage, resettlement, historical and cultural loss, and the ideas of speculators about whether or not some of the dam’s abilities are true.
The dam is expected to produce approximately 18.2 million kilowatts of energy per...