Why was it built?
It was built on the Chang Jiang River in 1992. It was made because of the flooding of the Yangtze River to help control the flow of the water. It also had hydroelectric generators on it which gave power to Shanghai and other regions. It was made to have a small effect of the environment although it did destroy some ancient artefacts.
It was necessary because it has stopped floods which would have killed thousands of people. It also has provided power to areas where they wouldn’t have had any. It had protected the natural environment by stopping downstream erosion.
1. Species will be affected by the dam. There are 300 species of fish in the Yangtze River. Fish will not be able to travel upstream to spawn, so the populations of the species will decrease. Other affected species include the Chinese River Dolphin, Chinese Sturgeon, Chinese Tiger, Chinese Alligator, Siberian Crane, and the Giant Panda. There are forty-seven rare or endangered species in the Three Gorges Dam area that are protected by Chinese law.
2. The only natural habitat of the Chinese River Dolphin is the Yangtze River, and there are less than 100 of these endangered dolphins. The reservoir created covers an area of the dolphins’ natural habitat. The reservoir created from the construction of the dam covers a significant amount of the dolphins’ natural habitat.
About 1.3 – 1.9 million people were forced to move from their homes along the Yangtze River due to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. 140 cities, about 1,000 villages, two cities, and 100,000 acres of fertile farmland will be displaced by the reservoir. The government is opening new land for agriculture, improving the quality of existing land, and establishing new business opportunities in the area.
The Chinese government compensates people forced to move with the “lump sum” method. This grant peoples the total net worth of their home and land. This method does not always mean equal and effective resettlement. In this relocation project, there was only enough land to give to 125,000 farmers. Many farmers switched to planting citrus fruits, or other value added products. The 100,000 acres of fertile farmland to be flooded yields 10% of China’s annual grain, 50% of which is rice. The thousands of others who were not able to receive land were trained for jobs in cities. There has been some corruption in the procedures for relocation. It is easier for funds allocated for resettlement to be spent elsewhere. Many Chinese people were not given adequate compensation for their land.
A number of cultural and archaeological sites will be lost. These sites are valuable because they document the nation’s past and hold religious significance. The Chinese government did set aside funds to protect the sites but due to the time