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Three Gorges Project

Yangtze River & Three Gorges Dam

The Yangtze River is the longest river in China and the third longest river in the world. With countless streams converging and passing through mountains and valleys it is said to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. With its everlasting majestic power, the Yangtze River hs created one of the Top Ten Scenic areas in China: The Three Gorges completing its course in the East China Sea.

Once completed, the Three Gorges Dam promises to yield the equivalent power of 15 nuclear plants. The river itself will rise to a final 575 feet above sea level, completely submerging existing towns along the way and flooding the narrow gorges of the Yangtze's tributaries.

The Three Gorges is the general name for the Qutang, Wu and Xiling gorges. It begins in Baidi City located in Fengjie county in the Chonqing Municipality, and ends in Yichang City, part of the Hubei Province.


1st Phase of Construction:1993-1997 The planning of the project was started in 1993. The actual building of the project started in December 1994. Zhongbaodao Island was used to build Dyke A to divert the river water and to connect the right riverbank to the other dyke. In order to build the main section of the dam the diversion channel was made and the foundation work was able to begin on the dry riverbed. At the same time, the start of the construction of the locks began.

2nd Phase of Construction:1997-2003 Another dyke was built on the left riverbank to divert the water in the other direction to start the construction on the dry riverbed. Later the flood relief dam, the main part of the dam, was constructed on the riverbed while 14 of the generators were installed. Another diversion channel was opened to navigation and was dammed again in November 2003.

3rd Phase of Construction:2003-2009 The diversion channel is dammed. The dykes on both sides will divert the water back to the main river and water will begin to turn the generators. The five stage ship locks will be put into operation. The main part of the dam will be complete and the remaining 12 generators will be completed.

Completion:2009 The height of the Three Gorges Dam will reach 185 meters. This will be the one of the largest dams in the world. All 26 generators will be put into operation by 2009 and will produce a large sum of China's electricity while controlling the flood zones.

Three Gorges Dam Information
Dam locationSandouping Town, Yichang, Hubei Provence
Completion schedule1993-2009 (17 years)
Height185 meters or 607 feet
Length584 meters or 1916 feet
Amount of concrete in structure27 million cubic meters or 88.5 million cubic feet
Double-way 5 step lock systemAccommodates 10,000 ton freighters
Total capacity of reservoir39.3 billion cubic meters
Average annual generation84.68 billion kilowatts
Total investment180 billion RMB or 27 billion U.S. dollars
Total number of resettled peopleAproximatly 1.3 million

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