Section 1: Goal, Scope and Rationale The concept of constructing a dam on the Three Gorgesto make use of the power of the river Yangtze is a dream that is centauries old.In the early 90’s, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, a Chinese physician and revolutionary firstproposed that a Three Gorges Dam Project to be constructed. Various expertsconducted investigations and started working on the project but because ofhistoric reasons and lack of resources and technology the development of theproject remained only a dream. After almost ten hearings on the expediency ofthe project the Government of China concluded that the merits of the projectfar overweigh its demerits and approved the project in 1992.
The government had three main goals for this project,flood control, power generation and navigation. Previously the population surroundingthe lower and middle and lower regions of the Yangtze suffered immense lossesfrom flooding affecting both human lives and property. In 1931 alone almostthree hundred thousand hectares of cultivated land were lost and about 145thousand people were drowned. Therefore the construction of a dam was necessaryto propel China into the 21st century and without it, China will havedifficulty in providing energy to its immense population and moreover theenergy obtained from the dam is more environmentally friendly than other alternativesources present at that period. Section 2: Strategy Alignment The Yangtze River in China, the third largest riverin the world, has long awed painters, writers, and poets. For centuries it drewpeople to its banks for trade, transport, and spiritual purposes, as evidencedby archaeological studies.
The dam is designed to have a flood control capacityof approximately 22 billion cubic meters and its construction would recede the numberand impacts of floods in that surrounding area. Due to the size and capacity ofthis dam, engineers were over that it might flood the nearby habitats sotherefore relocation process for the people living there were already planned,thought to give them new jobs and a place to live. It was estimated that theturbines would generate about 85TWh of green energy, which would result inthe decrease of country’s dependency on coal and other fossil fuels.
The constructionof the reservoir and ship locks would benefit the navigation across the riverand would allow large vessels to travel up and down the stream. New sea routeswill be made and ships from Chongquing will soon be able to trade goods all withShanghai. As it will be the the largest hydroelectric dam in the world, it isexpected to be popular among tourists visiting China, therefore new businessideas like river cruises and sightseeing were drafted to boost the economy andprofits for the operation of the dam. The workers on the construction site ofthe dam were in favour as it means that they have employment for up to 20years. The local area reserves constructed will also protect the endangeredanimals such as the white alligator and the Chinese river dolphin.
The planned34 generators will be able to generate and sell enough power that it willeventually pay for itself and start making profits. Section 3: Management of RiskA project this size is surely bound to be rocked byproblems and risks. The construction of the reservoir constructed submerged 1,350villages, 140 towns and 13 cities. The engineers were aware of this andtherefore started the relocation process as soon as the project was given a goahead. All the factories, waste dumps, mines and homes will dump all their wastein the river along with their contents, which includes toxic chemicals. On topof that there was sewage of approximately 1.35 billion tons already beingdumped in the river each year.
All of this waste will likely end up in the reservoir,which was supposed to be a major source of drinking water forthe surrounding region. The region around the dam has Jiuwanxi and Zigui-Badongthe two major fault lines in China. The swift changes in water pressure due toreservoir being filled got the geologist worried that during flood it could triggera phenomenon known as reservoir-induced seismicity the shakes the unsteadyground and causes an earthquake. The land around the reservoir could also bedestabilised and cause landslides due to the lowering and raising of the waterlevel.
The engineers designed the dam to be earthquake resistant by usingspecial techniques and materials and you can see that result as the Damsurvived nearly 980 tremors in its first few years of operation. The Chinesegovernment also took steps to keep a check on the existing structure of the damand spent millions of dollars to make it safer. It also spent a staggering 1.6billion dollars on reinforcing the reservoir coasts to prevent landslides andanother 3.2 billion dollars on water treatment projects to prevent waterpollution. They are also finding new spawning areas for threatened fish speciesand also to transport the many ancient relics to a safer place before theyended up being submerged in water. Section 4: Conclusions: Evaluation of Project Success The Three Gorges Dam was an ambiguous project and wassomething that looked good on paper. The initial budget was set to be 8 billiondollars but in reality it took almost 22 billion and some rumour it to take up to80 billion dollar to complete the overall project.
Around 1.2 million peoplehave been ordered by the government to evacuate the area and relocate beforeconstruction. They were promised plots of land and small stipends but in manycases they were only compensated as little as 50 yuan or $7 a month. Thereservoir created engulfed temples, ancient villages and burial grounds,destroying thousands of year’s worth of irreplaceable history.
It would alsoinundate a 4,000-year-old homeland of the ancient Ba People and almost 1,300important historical sites. The dam has also been causing some seriousenvironmental concerns. There have been various landslides since the start ofthe project. Even before the project was completed, the bank of the reservoirhad been collapsed in more than 90 places.
In 2003, 700 million cubic feetof rock slid into the Qinggan River, which created 20-meter tall waves thatkilled 14 people. The weather in the area has been changing so significantlythat researchers at NASA “were surprised to see that the dam affected rainfall over such a large area –a 62-square-mile region — rather than just 6 miles projected in previousstudies.” They also found that the neighbouring mountains were receiving higheramount of rainfall while the area surrounding the dam received much lesserrainfall than before. This resulted in a significant change of almost 1.2degrees Fahrenheit in areas where rain fell increased due to the cloud form andreduction in sunlight ultimately changing the vegetation and habitat of thealready present species living there.
In 2008 the Yangtze River hit its lowest water levelin 142 years. This abrupt drop stranded ships and caused water shortages invarious cities including Shanghai. This is ironic as the project, which wasdesigned to restrain flooding, is now causing draughts. After viewing all of myinformation, I have come to a conclusion about my views on the three gorges damprojects. Personally I believe that the dam should not be built. I believe thisbecause I think that they should build a scheme that will not affect people insuch a dramatic way. For example, they could get better flood control withouthaving to stop the rivers natural flow by protecting the cities and farmlandmore. That will preserve the land and will also stop damage being caused.
I doagree with the fact that Hydro Electric Power will unequivocally help theenvironment and that it is needed to help prevent the burning of fossil fuelsbut I think the country could incorporate Hydro Electric Power into other partsof the river other than the Three Gorges.