Major Effects of the Three Gorges Dam on the Local Ecology, the Region's Social Level and the Nation's Energy Supply

The Three Gorges Dam was criticized far before its construction even started in 1993. Its foreseeable impacts were the basis for national as well as international discussions and protests. This paper will evaluate the dam’s influence on the local ecology, the regional social level and the nation’s energy supply. By examining these in detail, it is shown that negative effects on the local and regional level occur, such as decreased water quality, loss of species and lack of compensation. Positive effects, however, are achieved on the national level with the dam helping solve the nation’s energy crunch. These results provide a better understanding of the project’s controversies, and give general information of the major effects on the local, regional and national level.

Three Gorges Dam Yangtze River Siberian Crane

The Yangtze River of Central China is one of the world’s greatest rivers. Since it is the longest river in Asia, the Yangtze is ranked third in the world with a total length of 6,300 km. Rising in the south-western part of the region Qinghai, the river flows east and forms a natural boundary between what is traditionally considered northern and southern China (Microsoft Encarta Enzyklopädie, 2003). Eventually the river enters the Pacific Sea 23km north of China’s industrial centre Shanghai. With its vast catchment area, the Yangtze has enormous economic importance in China. According to Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopaedia (2007), “it provides irrigation water for agriculture, a source of hydroelectric power, a waterway for cargo vessels[…], and a great transportation network through the heart of some of the most densely populated and economically important areas in China” (para. 2). Some of Central China’s important business centres, like Wuhan and Chongqing, are located beside the river. Many dams and hydropower plants were constructed along the river to improve waterway navigation, implement power generation for...