Three Gorges Dam

In 2006, the Chinese government completed a decades-long construction on the worlds largest dam ever on the Yangtze River.

Situated in Central China, the Three Gorges Dam is:

  • 1.4 miles long
  • 604' tall
  • over 5 times as large as the Hoover Dam
  •  provides roughly 3 percent of the country's energy needs,
Environmental Effects
  • Increase in landslide activity
  • Reduced biodiversity
  • Reduced freshwater flow has caused saltwater to move up the river
  • There has also been a 50% loss in sediment and nutrients downstream, a common issue with most dams, which will cause erosion to river systems, wetlands, and seacoast ecosystems, leading to adversely impacted fisheries and wetland watersheds
  • The Dam may have been tied to major earthquakes:
    • including the one in May of 2008 which killed 87,000 people
Social Effects
  • Displacement of 1.5 million people
  • High population densities in this area
  • Those forced to relocate were promised compensation for the value of their homes and land.
  • In what is likely the overwhelming majority of cases, relocated citizens:
    •  have either been given far too little in compensation or
    • their dues have been slimmed through corruption and embezzlement
    • compensation in some instances has been as meager as the equivalent of $7 a month
    • many claim they have received only half the land compensation they were promised
  • This has meant problems for many as the cities and towns they have had to move to are more expensive, driving many people deeper into poverty.