The three gorges dam is located in the Sandouping,
Yiching, Hubei province of China. It will extend across the Yangtze
river . The main functions of the dam will be for flood control,
power generation, and improved navigation. The dam is one and a
half miles wide and more than 600 feet high (181 meters). It will
create a reservoir that is nearly 400 miles long.The expected investment
into the project is 24.65 billion dollars. Some unofficial estimates
are as high as 75 billion. The first ideas for building a dam began
in 1919 for power generation. From 1993 to 1997 the river was diverted
after four years.When completed in 2009 the dam will generate 18,200
megawatts of power. This will be 50 percent more than South America's
Itaipu Dam, which currently is the largest dam in the world. In
comparison in the United States, the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia
River in Washington state generates 6,800 megawatts of power.
This photograph to the left is dumping granite along
the main channel to divert the Yangtze river. According to an article
from the Washington post for six and a half hours, a procession
of oversized earth movers — 118 per hour — dropped 45-ton
and 77-ton loads of rock and gravel into a 33-foot gap in the barrier.
At 3:15 p.m., the pool of water below the barrier grew still and
the river above turned to join the water flowing through a temporary
diversion channel. There was also a series of five locks built that
carry the boats over the dam in a series of steps.
The dam is being funded by The Three Gorges Dam Construction
Fund, revenue from Gezhouba Power Plant, Policy Laons from the China
Development Bank, Loans from domestic and foreign commercial banks,
and corporate bonds (source: China Daily Business Weekly).
The engineers of this project also had to design a
lock system for ships. The shiplift is designed as one stage vertical
hoisting type with a maximum hoisting distance of 113 meters.the
ship container of the shiplift is in a size of 120*18*3.5 m,capable
of carrying 3,000 tons of passenger or cargo boat each time.It is
the biggest and the most complicated shiplift in the world.
1993-1997: The Yangtze River was diverted after four
years in November 1997
1998-2003: The first batch of generators will begin to generate
power in 2003 and a permanent ship lock is scheduled to open for
navigation the same year.
2004-2009: The entire project is to be completed by 2009 when all
26 generators will be able to generate power.
Construction timetable (source: China Daily Business
There have been many groups in opposition to the Three
Gorges project. One of them is the International
River Network. They support local communities working to protect
their rivers and watersheds. The network wprks to halt destructive
river development projects, and to encourage equitable and sustainable
methods of meeting needs for water, energy and flood management.
They are a a nonprofit all-volunteer organization of activists.