Three Gorges Dam: The Cost of Power

Monday, October 20, 2008

Please download the 2012 updated version of the fact sheet, Three Gorges Dam: A Model of the Past

The Three Gorges Dam is the world’s most notorious dam. The massive project sets records for number of people displaced (at least 1.3 million), number of cities and towns flooded (13 cities, 140 towns, 1,350 villages), and length of reservoir (more than 600 kilometers). Yet this once glittering monument to China’s might is fast becoming a symbol of government folly. The project has been beset by corruption, human rights violations and spiraling costs, and the environmental impacts are rapidly escalating.

Chinese citizens and top government officials are awakening to the negative impacts of big dams like Three Gorges. However, this has failed to curb the government’s domestic and global dam building activities. This paper examines the impacts of the Three Gorges Dam, other problematic dams in China, and solutions to meeting the country’s energy needs.

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