17 Earthshaking facts about the Three Gorges Dam and China's next even bigger water project

china three gorges dam

Photo: Britrob via Flickr

Not sure how China’s Three Gorges Dam affects you? Consider this: It will literally slow the rotation of the planet.In 10 years China has built the biggest ever hydroelectric dam and started an even more elaborate and expensive scheme to divert freshwater across 1,000 miles. On these two controversial projects — worth together over $100 billion — China’s future depends.

The Three Gorges Dam cost $37 billion to build

Source: Korea Times

13 cities, 140 towns, and more than 1,600 villages have been submerged under the world's largest reservoir. An official count of 1.3 million people were relocated.

The world's largest hydroelectric dam, it generates 11 times as much power as the Hoover Dam

By shifting a significant mass of water, the dam will literally SLOW THE ROTATION OF THE EARTH

Walls of stone will stand upstream to the west
To hold back Wushan's clouds and rain
Till a smooth lake rises in the narrow gorges

Source: Wikipedia

Since partial completion in 2006, there have been reports of cracks, landslides, ecological deterioration, and accumulation of algae (water becoming murkish)

Source: Telegraph

Although the dam was supposed to control flooding on the Yangtze, 2010 is on track to be one of the worst flood years ever

Power generation is one thing, water crisis is another: Northern China has half of the population and only 15% of the freshwater

Source: Korea Times

The South-To-North Water Project will cost $62 billion to complete

The project will use dams, pumping stations, tunnels, and canals to draw 45 billion cubic meters of water upstream 1,000 miles each year

China will relocate 350,000 people within two years to make way for the water diversion project. Further destruction and relocation is inevitable

Source: Korea Times

The South-To-North Project was also Mao's idea. A 50-year construction plan was launched in 2002 and is already facing devastating delays

Source: Economic Times

The project's western route draws water across five major fault lines, including the epicentre of the 2008 earthquake that killed over 70,000

Source: Korea Times

Already 70% of China's freshwater is polluted. The project could worsen pollution. Some cities have already rejected plans to obtain water via the diversion project as too polluted

Source: Korea Times

Experts warn siphoning off a third of the Han River will decrease water quality and increase the risk of flash floods

Indians are worried by reports the project will significantly decrease the flow of the shared Brahmaputra (Yarlung Tsangpo) river and increase its salinity

Meanwhile in Western China: The massive Gobi Desert is expanding 1,400 square miles per year due to drought and over farming

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