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Three Gorges Dam Essay

1885 words - 8 pages

The Yangzte River is one of China's biggest and best-known rivers. It's reputation however, is not a positive one. Despite the fact that the river has provided water and a source of food for the Chinese who live along it for centuries, it has also caused devastating financial and human losses. In 1954 it became infamous for one of the most catastrophic natural disasters. The river flooded killing 30,000 people (Lei 1). It also caused an estimated $24 billion in damages (Ash 1). Because of this flood Mao Zedung decided to come up with a plan to prevent this from happening again, hence the Three Gorges Dam. That was over fifty years ago. Today, finally, the construction of the dam is well under way. The first stage, the diversion of the river has been completed and the second stage of operations is under way. This second stage involves the relocation of hundreds of thousands citizens and businesses. This will make room for the immense reservoir that will eventually engulf the land.The completion of the dam means many things to not only the individual citizens, but to the country as a whole. The dam will provide an astonishing amount of hydroelectric power. It will generate 84 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. This amount of energy will supply power to most of central and eastern China. It will also help China meet its electrical demand for their growing population and extend power lines into the country and rural areas. The increase of electricity in this area also allows for the development of heavy industry (Is Progress Worth the Risk? 1).The other huge benefit for the people of China is the knowledge that there will never be another flood along the river as great as the one that occurred in 1954. Farmers will have no need to fear the destruction of their crop by the rivers swirling waters. Businesses and homes can also be moved closer to the river. The people of China will also be able to build their homes along the river and not live in fear that the river, during the next thunderstorm, will destroy their house. Even Factories will be able use the water without having to pump it in from somewhere else.The third benefit, and probably the greatest, involves the ship traffic on the river. The Yangtze has always been a heavily traveled area. Ships move up and down the river carrying food, supplies, and machinery. With the construction of the dam comes the construction of locks. These locks will allow larger and heavier ships to traverse the river without any impediments. The ships will be able to hold up to ten thousand tons a piece (Ash 2). These ships will also be able to move 1500 miles inland, allowing a greater reach for water transport, to the city of Chongquing. This would make Chongquing the largest port city in the world (Popular Science).These factors alone make the dam worth building. Lives would be saved, transportation of goods would be faster and easier, and a great amount of electricity will be supplied.The planning of...

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