Three Gorges Dam

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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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...