Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Three Gorges Dam

The Three Gorges Dam spans the Yangtze River on Sandouping, Yichang, Hubei region, China. Construction began in 1994. It will be the major hydroelectric dam in the world, more than five times the size of the Hoover Dam. The reservoir began filling on June 1, 2003, and will occupy the current position of the scenic Three Gorges area, between the cities of Yichang, Hubei; and Fuling, Chongqing. Structural work was finished on May 20, 2006, nine months ahead of schedule. However, some generators still have to be installed and the dam is not expected to become fully equipped until 2009.

Three Gorges Dam, downstream side, 26 July 2004As with many dams, there is controversy over the operating cost and benefits of the Three Gorges Dam. Although there are economic profit from flood control and hydroelectric power, there are also concerns concerning the future of over 1.9 million people who will be displaced by the flood waters, the loss of some valuable archaeological and cultural sites, as well as the effects on the environment. It is believed that the dam was a contributing part in the extinction of the Yangtze River Dolphin.


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