1. World's Largest Water Conservation Project
China's Three Gorges Project is the largest
water conservation project in the world.
Taking the total amount of concrete work as
one example, the Three Gorges Project totals 26.43 million
cubic meters, 2.5 times the figure for the Gezhouba Barrage
project and twice that of the Itaipu project in Brazil,
which is currently the largest water conservation projects
in the world. The main construction targets of the Three
Gorges Project are:
--Removing 102.59 million
cubic meters of stone and earth and filling with 29.33
million cubic meters of stone and earthwork;
--Mixing and pouring 27.15 million cubic
meters of cement;
-- Erecting 281,000 tons of
-- Making and erecting
354,000 tons of reinforcing bars;
231,000 square meters of leak-proof concrete walls;
-- Installing power generators with a combined
capacity of 18.2 million kilowatts.
boasts a contingent of approximately 250,000 workers
employed in constructing the water conservation and
hydropower projects. Their experience in building concrete
gravity dams, hydropower plants, and large ship locks have
prepared them to build the Three Gorges Project.
2. World's Largest Hydropower Plant
Upon completion, the Three Gorges Project will
be the world's biggest hydropower plant in terms of both
total installed capacity and annual average power generation
Twenty-six turbine generator sets,
with a per-unit generation capacity of 700,000 kilowatts,
will be installed on the left and right banks of the Three
Gorges Hydropower Station. The overall generation capacity
is estimated at 18.2 million kilowatts. The annual power
generation is estimated to average 84.68 billion kilowatt
hours (KWH), equivalent to one-seventh of China's total in
The Three Gorges Hydropower Station will
be hooked up with thermal power and hydroelectric grids in
central and eastern China, thus improving the economy and
reliability of the electric grids.
China has mapped out state energy strategies by transporting
coal resources in northern China to the southern regions and
transmitting electricity generated from the western parts to
eastern localities in a bid to ease the energy shortage in
central and eastern China.
3. Three Gorges
Project to Take 17 Years
The ongoing Three
Gorges Project, which will be the world's largest water
conservation facility when completed, will take 17 years to
Construction of the project consists of
The preparatory and first-phase
projects spans five years from 1993-1997, whose completion
is signaled by the damming of the Yangtze River on November
The second phase will run from 1998 to
2003. This phase will be completed when the first generating
unit in the left-bank power plant goes on line and the
permanent ship lock begins operation.
third phase is planned for 2004-2009. This final phase
includes the completion of all 26 electricity-producing
On October 14, 1997, the 63rd
Executive meeting of the State Council set November 8 as the
date to block the Yangtze River. That will mark the end of
the first phase construction and the beginning of the second
4. Dam Won't Affect Navigation on
The Yangtze River, the world's
third longest, is one of China's leading transportation
routes. One guarantee made by developers of the Three Gorges
Project ensures smooth navigation at the construction site
during the six-year second phase (1997-2003).
A water diversion channel opened formerly on
October 6. During the next-phase construction through 2003,
ships will use the channel to bypass the dam site or use
temporary locks now being built on the north bank of the
Engineers said that ships can safely
pass through the channel except for peak water flow seasons.
When the water flows faster than 25,000 cubic meters per
second, it could be difficult for large ships to use the
channel. The maximum flow for smaller ships is between
10,000 and 15,000 cubic meters per second.
Temporary ship locks are being built to ensure
safe passage during the flood season which normally begins
The diversion channel will guarantee
that passenger and cargo transport needs are met in the
upper reaches of the Yangtze river during construction.
Permanent ship locks will be in operation
after the year 2003.
5. Three Gorges Reservoir
The Three Gorges Reservoir will
inundate 632 sq. km., the world's largest inundated area by
a single project.
The normal water level of
175 meters will be achieved in the year 2003, with the
reservoir covering 1,045 sq.km. and stretching some 663 km,
an area capable of controlling floods expected to occur
twice in one decade.
The resettlement effort
and the area to be inundated are unprecedented in Chinese
history, with inundation affecting 365 townships in 21
counties, cities or districts in Sichuan and Hubei
Some 844,000 people are scheduled
for resettlement, with unforeseen factors most likely
raising the figure to 1.2 million people.
Three Gorges Reservoir will inundated 31,000 hectares of
farmland, and will require the relocation of 1,599
industrial and mining enterprises, as well as power
transmission and telecommunications facilities, harbors,
small and medium-sized hydro-electric power plants, roads
and pumping stations.
The new reservoir,
typical of facilities in gorges, will not have a so-called
"big-belly" section similar to other facilities
built on lakes.
6. Charm of Three Gorges to
The Three Gorges, one of the world's
most famous scenic sites around Qutang, Wuxian and Xiling,
features breathtaking scenery which attracts hundreds of
thousands of tourists from at home and abroad each and every
The charming scenery will be left
untouched following the damming of the mid-section of the
The high-water mark once the dam
is completed will stand at 82.8 meters, or four meters
higher than before.
However, the rise in the
water level will have little impact on scenery in the Three
Gorges which sit at an elevation of some 1,000 meters above
sea level. The charm of the famous landmark will remain
unchanged the year 2009 when the high-water mark will rise
by some 100 meters.
A spectacular waterfall
formed by the steep incline of the Three Gorges dike will
offer a new site expected to attract an incessant stream of
tourists. Scenic landscapes, including Badong Shennong
Stream, the Gezi River Stone Forest and the Shuangxi Karst
Caves are either under construction or will be built in the
7. Preliminary Success Scored in
Three Gorges Resettlement Drive
local residents are expected to move out of the reservoir
area of the Three Gorges Project by the end of this year,
leading to a favorable start of the massive resettlement
The Three Gorges Project will relocate
1.2 million residents in the 1,084 sq km-reservoir area,
since the reservoir is expected to inundate more than 630 sq
km of land behind the Three Gorges Dam.
this end, China will inject approximately 100 billion yuan
into the relocation of the reservoir residents by the year
2009 when the whole project is completed.
"The State appropriations into the
resettlement endeavor have been on a steady rise, from the
300 million yuan in 1993, to 2.8 billion yuan this year. And
the sum will increase continuously in the future,"
according to an official with the Bureau of Resettlement and
Development under the Three Gorges Project Construction
Along with the resettlement drive,
the State also plans to invest more than 20 billion yuan on
the upgrading of local infrastructure and construction of
major industrial projects.
"In many areas
surrounding the Three Gorges Project site, the annual state
investment at present is equivalent to, or even exceeds the
combined total in the past 40-plus years," said the
policies, on the other hand, enabled the Three Gorges
Reservoir Area to open itself wider to the outside world and
may have more far-reaching positive impact on its future
development, added the official.
Over the past
few years, the Three Gorges Reservoir Area already emerged
as a hot destination for overseas investment. To date, over
470 foreign-funded ventures have landed in the city of
Yichang, in the vicinity of the project, drawing a total of
1.5 billion US dollars in overseas funds.
"In spite of the preliminary success,
even more difficulties are involved in the resettlement
drive, but we are optimistic with its final success,"
said the official.