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Three Gorges Dam Essay

1585 words - 6 pages

Three Gorges Dam

The Three Gorges are known to be a famous tourist attraction for its
beautiful scenery, located in northeastern China along the Yangzi
River. The Yangzi River runs 3700 miles long, being the third longest
river in the world after the Nile and Amazon Rivers. The Qutang Gorge,
the Wuxia Gorge, and the Xiling Gorge are the three Yangzi River
gorges that make up the Three Gorges. The Three Gorges are not only
famous for its scenery, but also its disastrous flooding. Within a
century, five major floods have occurred killing over 300,000 people
living in cities along the bank of the river. This is due to the
constant sediment deposits along the river, causing the river bed to
continuously rise six metres to seventeen metres higher than the
plains.

In 1992, the Chinese National People's Congress approved the project
of constructing a dam at the upper and middle reaches of the Yangzi
River by the Xiling Gorge. The purpose was to adjust the water flow of
the Yangzi River in hope to prevent more serious flooding. The dam is
expected to be the largest hydroelectric project in the world, being
185 metres (606 feet) high and 1,983 metres (6500 feet) broad, with a
reservoir that will fill a level of 175 metres above sea level.[1] The
17-year construction of the dam is estimated to use 10.8 million tons
of cement, 1.9 million tons of rolled steel, and 1.6 tons of timber,
costing a total of approximately $900 billion yuan.[2] Since then,
construction has been undertaken for the Three Gorges dam. But many
issues have been raised concerning the many aspects of the project. As
a Chinese journalist, Dai Qing, calls it, "the Three Gorges dam is the
most environmentally and socially destructive project in the world."[3]

In Terms of Money

The World Bank and the U.S. Export Import Bank are unwilling to
provide financial assistance for the construction of the dam.
Therefore, most costs will be depended upon the national energy tax,
government bonds, and any other trust funds raised. The dam will
produce the energy of 84 billion kilowatt hours per year, which is
enough to supply 11-15% of China's energy. Project loans and interest
is planned to be paid off by this energy generated in 2-3 years upon
completion of the dam. The inexpensive electricity and cheap river
transportation is expected to turn this region into an international
investment.

The Yangzi River acts as a transportation highway for people living
along the banks of the river. The reservoir will become a great
advantage to those travelling along the river. It will help bring
ships inland, allowing about 50 million tonnes of extra freight to be
transported along the river each year. The project will "reduce
freight costs and facilitate trade in the area."[4]

Many people have criticised the actual value of...

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