agriculture, asia, climate change, dam, drought, sustainability

Drought and the Yangtze

A short video clip from the BBC on the current drought occurring around the Yangtze River in China. River levels are at record lows, and Chinese officials are discharging extra water from the Three Gorges Dam. Scientists indicate climate change will increase the frequency of such droughts.

Will the Three Gorges Dam still be relevant if dropping river levels on the Yangtze become commonplace?

More articles on dropping flows in the Yangtze River include:
Yangtze River water level at 140-year low – Telegraph
Yangtze hit by drought in China – BBC News
Parts of China’s Yangtze at lowest level in 140 years – AFP 

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asia, dam

Three Gorges Dam: Displacement and Environmental Problems Acknowledged

Most have heard of the Three Gorges Dam (長江三峽大壩), a hydroelectric dam constructed in China to create a massive reservoir on the Yangtze River. The project when finished will flood an area of approximately 400 square miles. The dam, currently partially operational, is expected to be fully operational in 2009 after final generators are installed.


Above Photo: Mr Frosted on flickr.com.

A recent article distributed by the Associated Press on October 12, 2007, states many more individuals will have to move from the region by the year 2020.

The reservoir already has forced 1.4 million people out of their homes amid criticism the project has wreaked ecological havoc and forced people to move to places where they cannot make a living. On Friday, state media and the region’s local government signaled rising concern over the dam’s impact, saying as many as several million more people would have to be moved from areas adjacent to the reservoir in a form of “environmental migration.”

This recent announcement of an increase in displacement of citizens from the Yangtze region comes too soon after a report was issued in September 2007 highlighting major environmental problems caused by the dam including erosion, sedimentation, and possible water-quality problems.

This article, from the Guardian Unlimited in the UK, summarizes the dire statements made by public officials on environmental problems that could plague the area. However, as stated on Planet Ark, Chinese Officials are opposing these statements saying environmental effects were exaggerated by the media. The bad press is probably not such a good thing when you are trying to run a country. Check out the International Rivers Network webpage for more information about environmental issues and the Three Gorges Dam.