Three Gorges Damn, China

The Three Gorges Dam, Meaningful Or Useless?

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The Three Gorges Dam is a large-scale hydropower station built and operated completely by China in 2012, located in Yiling District, Yichang, Hubei province, China. The Three Gorges Dam has brought tremendous power generation capacity and excellent flood resistance to China, but at the same time When it was completed, it inundated some of the nearby cultural sites and changed the surrounding ecological environment, which made it a controversy at home and abroad.

Advantages of the Three Gorges Dam

Flood control is the one of the major objectives of this great project. Due to the seasonal flooding of the Yangtze river, for a long time, many people living in the regions of middle and lower reaches suffer from the destruction of their farmland as well as the loss of their home or even their own lives. In addition to financial loss, the pain caused by the flood to the people and the social turmoil that accompanies it are the most urgent problems to be solved. In this case, the Chinese government decided to take a standing measure to efficiently relieve this issue which was the construction of the Three Gorge dam. From a pragmatic point of view, the dam successfully adjusted the flood on July 24, 2012, when the flood peak has already exceeded the peak (above 70 thousand cubic per second) in 1998. Logically, there was nothing dangerous downstream. All in all, the Three Gorge dam has reached it original purpose of flood control and it has been playing an important role of flood adjustment in recent years.

Meanwhile, used as a power station to protect the needs of residents and improve the lives of residents. As the world’s largest water power station, it can help reduce the number of thermal power stations and reduce CO2 emissions. The annual power generation of the Three Gorges Dam is 97.600 TWh. At the same time, there is no raw material cost for the Three Gorges Dam to use water power generation, which greatly reduces the cost of electricity for the Chinese people. For Utilitarianism the construction of the Three Gorges Dam has promoted China’s new energy development, increased China’s new energy use rate, and eased the deterioration of China’s residents’ environment. After the completion of the Three Gorges Dam, all construction costs have been recovered after seven years. The Three Gorges Dam is now in a profitable state. At the same time, the Three Gorges Dam also brought stable employment and eased the use of electric power brought about by China’s development.

Harm of the Three Gorges Dam

Environmental impact

With the complete of the three gorges dam, the environmental problems caused by the dam have gradually appeared, mainly including landslides, earthquake and potential impact on wild life.

Due to the erosion in the reservoir, the probability of landslides has increased a lot, which lead to significant disturbance in the reservoir surface. In the year of 2010, there were 97 landslides in the upstream of the Yangtze river. Also, the dam located on the seismic zone, therefore the chance for earthquake is higher. In order to make preparations for the geological disaster, policies were published by Three Gorges Project Construction Committee to prevent the disaster. In this issue, the safety and fortune of civilian living near the dam are highly affected. The government is expected to make more efforts to ensure better life for people.

The other problem caused by the dam is wild life impact. The Yangtze region has been known for rich in biodiversity, including 6,388 species of plants, among which 57% percent was endangered due to the dam. It also has great impact on animal species, particularly the Chinese river dolphin, has been extinct. The construction of the dam is fully responsible for the distinction of species. In order to solve the problem, the government has established nature reserves to protect the species. Even so, the extinct species are still great lost.

Migration impact

The Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze River is the largest hydraulic engineering in the world, and it is also a project with the largest number of immigrants in the history of hydraulic engineering in the world.

The Three Gorges Project will inundate 20 districts and counties (cities) in Hubei Province and Chongqing Municipality. The direct inundation area has a population of 847,500 and houses of 34,731,500 square meters. There are two cities, 11 counties, 116 market towns and a large number of industrial and mining enterprises, ports and other infrastructure needs to be rebuilt in whole or in part. By 2009, the final number of immigrants will reach 1.13 million.

Such a huge immigration will inevitably bring about many social problems. Millions of people have been forced to leave their home for generations. Although the government will have certain compensation measures, it is still difficult for people to fully integrate into a new environment. Most of the immigrants were placed in new towns built at higher altitudes. At the beginning of the new town construction, immigrants suffered a difficult period because that farmland is submerged and traffic is inconvenient. Other immigrants were placed all over the China. Language problems and social issues have caused great inconvenience to their lives.

33 thoughts on “The Three Gorges Dam, Meaningful Or Useless?

  1. “The annual power generation of the Three Gorges Dam is 97.600 TWh” – this sounds a large number, what does in mean in terms of numbers of homes it could power please?

    ” For Utilitarianism the construction of the Three Gorges Dam has promoted China’s new energy development, increased China’s new energy use rate, and eased the deterioration of China’s residents’ environment.” How does the Three Gorges Dam satisfy utilitarianism? Is it about giving more people more power, or satisfying the energy demand? How about from a Duty Ethics, Virtue Ethics point of view too?

    In terms of the argument against, you also need to develop the ethical arguments.

    Overall, this is a fascinating article. Well done.

  2. For the function of flood control, though it seems that the dam has worked well in the flood season of recent years, maybe there is still something that has been neglected. For example, The silt-free water that gushes through it fails to replenish embankments downstream, thus weakening them as flood barriers (several have collapsed this year). Below the dam, the water now runs faster; it has scraped away and lowered the Yangzi’s bed by as much as 11 metres. Moreover, The region in which the dam stands is also one of the world’s most seismically active. Geologists worry that the weight of water in the sinuous reservoir, 600km (370 miles) from end to end, and the rise and fall of it, is causing more frequent tremors along the fault lines. Even small earthquakes can cause perilous landslides. Finally, the huge amount of siltation accumulated behind the dam is also a hidden danger, threatening the serice life of the dam.

    1. What’s interesting is that I just saw a report about the investigation of the Three Gorges Dam project by Chinese national leaders just a few days ago. It was just a report that explained the content of your point of view. I pointed out in the report that the Three Gorges Dam is under construction. Previously, a great deal of geological surveying work had been carried out to ensure the stability and safety of the Three Gorges Project. However, in the process of inspection, the geological stability of the Three Gorges Dam and the overall safety of the dam were investigated. This is From a country-level inspection result, I personally think that this point can be seen that China is more concerned with the safety of the Three Gorges Dam than any other country and shows that the Chinese government has made every effort to ensure the safety of the Three Gorges Dam.

  3. Good articles, I personally agree with the views in the article. But after reading the full article, what led me to think is that in the article I mentioned that the dam has affected some of the cultural sites around it. Has it been remedied at the time of construction? What about the compensation for the income of the local residents who have been forced to immigrate and how the residents later lived? Does the life of the residents increase or decrease compared to the past life? At the same time, another reader’s point of view is also very interesting, so I also want to know whether the dam was taken into account when it was built. What impact does the Three Gorges Dam have on the environment?

  4. It is a pretty interesting topic. Before the construction of the three gorges dam, there were many arguments, including support ideas and oppsite ideas. The supporters believed that this project would lead to great economic benefit, which has been mentioned in the article. The opponent thought that it would have serious impact on the local environment, which also has been mentioned in the blog. From this blog, we can see the both side of the construction of the three gorges dam, however, the reflect of this impact should be more depth.

  5. Hi guys, I read your blog and I would like to make some comments. You talked about the advantages and the disadvantages in the article, but I think it would better if you can have some discussion about the meaning of this dam, such as the comparsion of the cost and the benefit that have been expected. The Three Gorges Dam is a great project, I think it worth to talk more about it impacts. It is great to see your points!

  6. I think this article lacking the reactions of ordinary people involved in this project. Therefore the development of ethical cycle is not enough. You should not only demonstrate the evidence, but more focus on the ethical influence of this great project. All of the four parts need to supplement this basic content.
    Furthermore, the data stated in the article need to be more authorised, in other word, more reference. For example, for flood control, according to some non-Chinese media reports, the actual flood resistance of the Three Gorges Dam is not as strong. The same problem can also be found in the eviromental impact part, whether the Three Gorges Dam caused such serious extinction?

  7. Based on China’s state-owned economic system, how taxpayers’ money is used by the government will inevitably become a bit blurry. In other words, It is difficult for citizens to seriously consider whether the construction of the Three Gorges Dam calls for their money. However, they are absolutely the stakeholders of three gorges dam. In this case, it should take more careful thinking about the ethical cycle that the ordinary citizens involved in. The transparency and authenticity of the information related to the Three Gorges Dam are all related to the interests of these stakeholders. Therefore, when evaluating the utilitarian nature of the Three Gorges Dam, some objective reports, rather than the Chinese government’s one-sided word, are particularly important,which means the further report requires a wider range of reference.

  8. That is an interesting article.
    The relationship between man and nature on the level of ethics reflects a fair value relationship. Ecological justice requires that ecological values and human subjects be treated and considered as a whole, taking full account of the needs of nature and the ecological endurance.
    So in my opinion, there is no absolute right or wrong on ethical issues. What really matters is whether the problems brought about by this project can be solved. As far as the Three Gorges Project is concerned, I think the analysis in the article is comprehensive. Only time can give the answer to this question.

  9. I think there is situation need to discuss.

    That is crazy but important. When the war occurs, the Three Gorges Project will have very important strategic significance. Although it is now in a peaceful era, this is a consideration for China. Because once the Three Gorges are damaged, the Yangtze River will suffer an unprecedented flood disaster.

    Of course, this is just my personal one-sided view and comment. The whole article is still very clear.

  10. Hi, this article mentioned the advantages of the Three Gorges Dam when discussing its flood control performance and the economic benefits it brought after its completion. However, in the discussion of opposing the Three Gorges Dam project, more is about The impact of the construction process of the Three Gorges Dam may allow more discussion on why it is necessary to build the Three Gorges Dam. As far as I know, the construction of the Three Gorges Dam in China is due more to the influence of politicians. The power people want to show a kind of human beings can overcome the idea of nature, this will only be implemented. How can this be defined from the moral aspect of the project?

  11. The article expounded both positive and negative aspects of the impact of the Three Gorges Dam on all aspects of China. The structure of the article is very clear and it is conducive to readers’ reading. In terms of merit, the author proposed that the intervention of the Chinese government has successfully solved the flood problem and achieved the original purpose of flood control. This point strongly and positively illustrates the impact of the Three Gorges Dam on the lives of the Chinese people. At the same time, as one of the countries with the largest fuel consumption in the world, China’s investment in the Three Gorges Dam also shows its strength in environmental improvement. If the article can add more data analysis, such as the certain figure that reducing carbon dioxide emissions through the Three Gorges Dam, it will be more useful for readers to read.

  12. I agree with the conclusion that the three Gorges Dam brought about many social problems.

    I think u should improve ethical point of utilitarianism it bring more energy demand or more damage to resident life?

    Anyway, Interesting article about a subject that I didn’t know about before- great read.

  13. The pros and cons of this article is very clear. Regarding the third part, I am very personally interested and would like to make some comments. First of all, for wild animals, you started out by saying that the Three Gorges Dam will pose a potential threat to them. However, after you said that 57 percent of the species are on the verge of extinction because of the Three Gorges Dam, this is already a direct It’s terrific.

    In addition, you mentioned the geological hazards that the Three Gorges Dam will bring. And you also said that the Chinese government is looking for ways to ensure the safety of its residents. This is something you should not mention, because you are expounding a negative argument about the dam. Otherwise, you should explain what the Chinese government has done to ensure that residents are safe from earthquakes and landslides.

  14. This is a long and interesting article. From the perspective of utilitarianism, the Three Gorges Dam is indeed to meet the electricity demand, greatly reduce thermal power generation, reduce carbon emissions, and greatly reduce the cost of electricity for residents. However, the construction of this major project is also viewed in a utilitarian manner. A large number of residents of the reservoir area have been forced to migrate out of their place of residence for generations. This will bring certain suffering to most of them. But from the perspective of Kant’s theory, the project itself is legally compliant and has the support of the central government and the local government. It is correct in itself. The Three Gorges Dam has been built for 12 years. Personally, it is explained by utilitarianism. I support this project.

  15. As an engineer, the Three Gorges Project is undoubtedly a great project. This article has already described the advantages and disadvantages of the Three Gorges Project. But in my opinion, The impact of the Three Gorges Project on immigration is a major social problem that needs to be solved. Because the immigration caused by the Three Gorges Project is unequal. Some immigrants who have emigrated to Shanghai have been given more opportunities. Some immigrants who rebuild cities have experienced many hardships. This is undoubtedly unfair. However, these advantages and disadvantages have only appeared many years later, so this is a very difficult problem to be solved.

  16. The existence of the Three Gorges Dam has been a controversial topic. At present, it must be said that the establishment of the Three Gorges Dam has made great contributions to flood prevention, power generation and shipping. However, considering from a long-term perspective, the existence of the Three Gorges Dam will bring about some unavoidable hidden dangers. Apart from the hidden dangers to the environment and migration mentioned in the article, the impact on cultural relics in the reservoir area is another major issue. As we all know, China is a country with a long history, the cultural heritage left behind during our long history is something we need to cherish and protect. The 600,000-kilometer-long submerged area of ​​the Three Gorges Project makes it impossible to protect cultural heritage. After impounding 175 meters of water in the Three Gorges reservoir area, a large number of cultural relics and monuments will be submerged under water. Therefore, since 1996, the state has issued regular protection. The funds, the rescue protection and excavation of the cultural relics in the Three Gorges Project area began. It is undeniable that although a large number of surprise cultural relics have been protected and rescued, a group of precious and representative artifacts have been preserved, but it is impossible to guarantee to preserve all the remains, a large part of the artifacts is still below the submergence line and it will be difficult to find out.

  17. After reading through your articles, I want to say two of my own opinions. I think this is very important. What is the original purpose of the Chinese government’s construction of the Three Gorges Dam? Is it more for flood control or more for power generation? At the same time, at the beginning of the construction of the dam, did the Chinese government take into account the ecological damage that accompanies the construction of the dam and the issue of population migration?

    Considering the ethical cycle, how do the views of the ordinary citizens who are most closely related to the dam differ from those of the past and the present, and whether the Chinese government projections has been successfully achieved and what has changed?

    In short, I think this is an important issue that you need to revisit before you move on to the next step.

  18. The arguments for this article are clear and very compelling. I saw utilitarianism in the first half of your article, but the negative part of the article did not use any moral theoretical framework to judge, so this is what you lack in this article.

    Next, let us return to the topic of utilitarianism. From the perspective of this ethical framework, the first half of your article is very persuasive. Utilitarianism is to consider maximizing the profits of the largest number of stakeholders. Although you did not mention utilitarianism in the latter half, I generally supported the construction of the Three Gorges Dam after reading your articles.

    In fact, I would like to say that it is of little significance to discuss the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, because it has been completed whether people object to or support the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. And it is also a legal building that conforms to the defining criteria of Kant’s theory. Therefore, I think that you should devote more energy to discussing the impact of the completion of the Three Gorges Dam and the two sides of these impacts, instead of continuing to entangle the dam itself. This will help you to continue the new discussion in the next task.

    If you want to continue to use utilitarianism, I think it is necessary for you to pay attention to the comparison of the amount of people who are profitable or victims of the Three Gorges Dam, because this is the essential judging condition of utilitarianism.

  19. First of all, I basically agree with the viewpoint in the first half of this article that the Three Gorges Dam has indeed brought many energy outputs to China and has made tremendous contributions to improving China’s greenhouse gas emissions. Interestingly, several reports I read before reading this article coincided with the visit of China’s national leaders to the Three Gorges Dam and the reports that the people of the Three Gorges Dam left the original place of residence. It has been properly resettled, and at the same time many of the power companies that run the operator’s Three Gorges Dam have been working with nearby residents. At the same time, they also focused on examining the situation of the ecological environment around the Three Gorges to ensure the stability of the Three Gorges Project. This is where the Chinese government constantly repairs and perfects the shortcomings mentioned in this article. I personally believe that this behavior is also fully consistent with the Kant Ethical framework.

  20. After reading the article and previous comments, there is a point of view that I find very interesting.

    The strategic significance of the Three Gorges Project for China also needs to be considered. Especially when China has developed to a big country. By that time, China had no need to rely on the amount of electricity generated by the Three Gorges Project. At this time, the Three Gorges will become a soft underbelly of China. Once the Three Gorges were destroyed, it was a devastating blow to the cities in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.

    I think that at a certain time, it is a right thing to take the initiative to dismantle the Three Gorges. Of course, this is just my personal opinion.

  21. From my personal point of view, this discussion is meaningless.
    Because the Three Gorges Project is an integral part of China’s development. The cheap and huge electricity generated by the Three Gorges Project is what developing countries need most. For China, development is the most important. Although the Three Gorges Project will cause many environmental problems and immigration problems. But these problems can be remedied in time. When China has had a difficult period of development, the government can have enough energy to deal with these issues. National leaders must focus on the overall situation and temporarily sacrifice the interests of a small number of people in exchange for the country’s rapid development.
    I think what needs to be discussed now is how these issues will be resolved in the future. Because the Three Gorges Project is a great and indispensable project for China.

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