Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River, China

"A river is like a human body, you cannot cut it". But supporters of the largest dam of the world mantain China has no choice


Description
Dams have been a politically contentious issue in China since the 1950s, during which Mao’s effort to rapidly industrialize China resulted in the emergence of thousands of poorly constructed dams across the country, all of which had collapsed by 1980 [1].
See more...
Basic Data
NameThree Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River, China
CountryChina
ProvinceHubei
SiteYichang
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Water
Land
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
The Three Gorges Dam is the world's largest capacity hydroelectric power station with 34 generators: 32 main generators, each with a capacity of 700 MW, and two plant power generators, each with capacity of 50 MW, making a total capacity of 22,500 MW
See more...
Level of Investment (in USD)23,000,000,000 (official estimate)
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population1.2 million displaced
Company Names or State Enterprises China Yangtze Power from China
Power Grid Development Company from China - The company is responsible for the transmission work
Siemens from Germany - supply electrical system equipment through its subsidary Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation
Alstom from France
China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG ) from China - Responsible for the construction of the Three Gorges Dam
Relevant government actorsThe National People's Congress
International and Financial InstitutionsChina Development Bank (CDB) from China
China Construction Bank from China
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersInternational Rivers; Weng Lida, the secretary general of the Yangtze River Forum; Dai Qing, prominent Chinese journalist; Zhou Peiyuan and Lin Hua, prominent Chinese scientists
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Media based activism/alternative media
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Global warming, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Food insecurity (crop damage)
Potential: Soil contamination, Noise pollution
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Migration/displacement
Repression
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.In an unexpected statement, China’s government has just acknowledged the serious problems of the Three Gorges Dam. “The project is now greatly benefiting the society in the aspects of flood prevention, power generation, river transportation and water resource utilization,” the government maintained, but it has also “caused some urgent problems in terms of environmental protection, the prevention of geological hazards and the welfare of the relocated communities" [10].
Sources and Materials
References

[2] Jackson, S. & Sleigh, A. (2000). Resettlement for China’s Three Gorges Dam: socio-economic impact and institutional tensions.
Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 33(2), 223-241.

[1] Shapiro, J. (2012). China’s environmental challenges. Cambridge, U.K., Cambridgeshire: Polity Press.

[3] Jing, J. (1997). Rural resettlement: Past lessons for the three Gorges Project. The China Journal, (38), 65.

[4] Lin, T.C. (2007). Environmental NGOs and the Anti-dam movements in China: A social movement with Chinese characteristics. Issues & Studies, 43(4), 149-184.

Links

[6] Floods test Three Gorges Dam
[click to view]

[5] Three Gorges Dam
[click to view]

[7] China's Enormous Three Gorges Dam Could End Up Being A Huge Mistake
[click to view]

[8] Three Gorges Dam
[click to view]

[9]Chinese Government Acknowledges Problems of Three Gorges Dam
[click to view]

[11] Probe International - Who is behind China’s Three Gorges Dam
[click to view]

[10] Articles Landslide destroys dam in Three Gorges region
[click to view]

Media Links

National Geographic
[click to view]

Is the Three Gorges Dam a Ticking Time Bomb?
[click to view]

Other Documents

Three Gorges Dam Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Gorges_Dam#mediaviewer/File:ThreeGorgesDam-China2009.jpg
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorEJOLT team at School of Geography and China Centre, University of Oxford
Last update17/02/2015
Comments