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Advantages & Disadvantages of China Three Gorges Dam Project
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Advantages & Disadvantages of Three Gorges Dam

Supporters say the benefits of the project far outweigh the costs. The principal advantage of the project is to generate power to keep pace with China's economic growth. It is estimated that China's power output must rise by 8 percent annually to keep pace with 6 percent annual increase in gross national product.

In practical term, that means the nation's total 1990 power capacity of 130 million kilowatts must grow to 580 million by the year 2015.

Advantages (Pros)

1. Flood Control. 

Chinese officials note that the dam will relieve the danger of flooding.

2. Emissions reduction 

Another advantage of the dam is to reduce emissions of sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide.

3. China is enforcing tight rules aimed at preventing construction work from causing environmental pollution, while advanced facilities are being installed to treat construction waste. By the year 2000, over 90 percent of waste water from construction is expected to be treated.

Disadvantages (Cons)

1. Relocation

Chinese officials estimate that the reservoir will partially or completely inundate 2 cities, 11 counties, 140 towns, 326 townships, and 1351 villages. About 23800 hectares, more than 1.1 million people will have to be resettled.

2. It will threaten the river's wildlife. The dam will alter the natural environment, and therefore, an almost infinite number of species will be affected by the project.

3. The Three Gorges project will submerge some of China's most famous historical scenery and tourist sites.

4. The weight of millions of tons of water behind a dam can increase the chances of an earthquake.

5. The dam will disrupt heavy silt flows in the river. It could cause rapid silt build-up in the reservoir, creating an imbalance upstream, and depriving agricultural land and fish downstream of essential nutrients.

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