China’s Three Gorges Dam
China began planning to build the Three Gorges Dam along the Yangzi River in 1919 by Sun Yatsen. Although planning took decades, this monumental dam (the world’s largest hydroelectric dam) is finished with most construction, and hopefully it will be in maximum use within a couple of years.
In a hydroelectric dam, the flow of water is used to turn turbines to create electricity. The Three Gorges Dam is an example of a storage system because water is stored in reservoirs formed by a dam.
The Three Gorges Dam is a mile and a half wide and more than 600 feet high. The reservoir created is 400 miles long and hundreds of feet deep. For half a year, this reservoir allows 10,000 ton freighters to sail to China’s interior. The electricity produced also equals 18 nuclear power plants! This is a form of renewable energy. It is hoped that this dam will benefit both international trade and the increasing need for electricity.
Here is a general information video.
This all sounds great doesn’t it? Well there are many serious consequences of building this hydroelectric dam. The negative impacts range from environmental to social.
Some negative effects include:
- Toxic materials leach into reservoir
- Destruction of landscape
- Destruction of homes (more than 100 towns)
- 1.2 million people relocated
- Destruction of archeological sites (around 1,300 sites)
- Loss of farm land
- Silt accumulation
There are even questions about how efficiently the hydroelectric energy will be used. It is stated by government officials that as much as 1/9 of China’s electricity could come from the Three Gorges Dam-the 26 hydropower turbines will produce 18.2 million kilowatts.
To watch a video of the negative impacts, click here.
It is now up to you to decide how beneficial you think this dam will really be for China.
You can read more information from CNN.
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