Posts Tagged ‘Three Gorges Dam


More flooding devastates China.

For the second time in 2 years China is reeling from massive flooding that has left death and destruction in its wake.

NBC News: Flooding in central Beijing

Last weekend Beijing, China‘s capital, experienced its biggest rainstorm in 60 years. Rain flooded streets and underpasses, caused buildings to collapse and led to 37 confirmed fatalities.

Many residents were critical of the preparations and handling by the Chinese authorities, who announced in 2010 the development of a flood risk map to identify those regions most at risk. The city has been modernized so quickly – with much of the most recent focus around the 2008 Olympic Games – critics are suggesting that essential infrastructure improvements including drainage have not kept pace.

In defense, Ministry of Transport Engineers argue that no city could cope with what equates to six months’ average rainfall in a single day.

Most embarrassing for the Chinese authorities was the closure of Beijings airport – stranding tens of thousands and preventing hundreds of flights from coming in or out. China relies heavily on international business visitors as it continues its global expansion of trade.

One silver lining from the catastrophic events in Beijing was the performance of the Three Gorges Dam, which this week began using the final 32 of its hydroelectric generators making it the world’s biggest power plant of this type. The dam appears to have come through the flood peak unscathed and protected areas in the lower Yangtze river from further damage. The plant can now provide the equivalent output of 15 nuclear reactors to the increasingly energy-hungry nation. What isn’t known is whether massive amounts of trash, which clogged the dam after last year’s rains will return to cause further problems.

NBC News: 3 Gorges Dam


Chinese Authorities begin Flood Risk Map.

Following some of the worst flooding in a decade and the loss of more than 2 million homes, the Chinese government has commissioned a flood risk map to be drawn up for completion by 2022.

Flooded Streets in Guangdong Province (Associated Press)

In spite of dam projects designed to reduce some of the countries most frequently hit areas – particularly low lands where the Yangtze river flows towards the ocean, 2.6 million hectares of agricultural land have been lost and almost 3500 people are missing or dead.

The China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research has demanded a comprehensive map of the regions most vulnerable to flooding and a review of human activity in and around these areas, according to the Xinhua News Agency. This could result in new planning regulations prohibiting development of land in flood risk areas.  It is estimated that 150 million people in China could reside in flood-vulnerable places.

Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze Riverhttp://ea...

Three Gorges Dam via Wikipedia

The Three Gorges Dam is one project designed to prevent serious flooding as well as providing hydroelectric energy for China’s growing economy. More than 1 million people were displaced to make way for the dam. So far it has been successful in reducing the flow of water during the peak of the floods from 70,000 cubic meters  per second to only 40,000 cubic meters per second, but this wasn’t without cost as the dam itself was be-seiged by debris and trash washed down by the raging waters  faster than the authorities could clear it. Many of the losses of homes and lives occurred upstream from the dam.

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