Three Gorges Dam Facts
- Location: Sandouping, Hubei, China
- Catchment: Yangtze River
- What it is: A hydroelectric dam which holds the honor of being the world’s largest power station
- When Constructed: 1994
- Construction Time: 14 years to build
- When Opened: 2008
- Cost: $37 billion
- Purpose: To control power and floods
- Height: 593 feet
- Length: 7,660 feet
- Geography: 1.3 Million People Were Relocated in Order for the Three Gorges Dam to Be Built
- Science: The Dam Will Actually Slow the Rotation of Planet Earth by 0.66 microseconds
- Science: Since Its Inception, Strange Geological Phenomena Have Occurred
- History: It Was Built to Control Flooding
- Science: The Three Gorges Dam Is a Huge Reservoir that Has actually Created Drought
- The Inception of the Dam goes Back 90 Years – Much Further than Many Think
- It Is the World’s Largest Hydropower Plant
- The Dam Is Made With 510,000 Tons of Steel
- In the Event of a Natural Disaster, 360 Million Lives Might Be in Danger
- Despite all Its Problems, It Has Improved China’s Emissions Record
1.3 Million People Were Relocated in Order for the Three Gorges Dam to Be Built
It seems incomprehensible, but in order for the Three Gorges Dam (which is now believed to be the world’s largest reservoir) to be built, a total of 1.3 million people had to be relocated from their homes. This is one of the Three Gorges Dam facts which surprises many people. That roughly equates to 1,600 villages, spread across 140 towns and 13 cities. To put it into context, that’s equivalent to more than the entire population of Dallas, Texas being moved. Concerns were also expressed at the number of environmental and archaeological sites that were flooded to make way for the project.
The Dam Will Actually Slow the Rotation of Planet Earth by 0.66 microseconds
The sheer amount of water that was moved to create the dam, and the place in which it has been relocated to, means that it will literally slow the rotation of our planet. This is another example of Three Gorges Dam facts which are eye opening. The reservoir will hold just over 9.4 cubic miles of water, spread over 650 miles. The total weight of the water in the dam will be 85 trillion pounds. A mass that size will create something known as a moment of inertia , because the water in the reservoir will be raised to 575 feet above sea level – this means that on average our days will lengthen by 0.66 of a microsecond!
Since Its Inception, Strange Geological Phenomena Have Occurred
The reservoir and dam were partially completed in 2006, and since that time there have been steady reports of more landslides occurring, a general deterioration of the surrounding environment and more instances of a degradation in the quality of the water, with increases in incidences of algae forming.
It Was Built to Control Flooding
Many people ask why was the Three Gorges Dam built? Well, it was constructed to control flooding. But since it was completed, the Yangtze has actually flooded more often, with the year 2010 (some two years after the dam’s completion), being the worst on record for flooding events. In one of the worst floods, some 500 people were killed in North China, resulting in an entire village being wiped out.
The Three Gorges Dam Is a Huge Reservoir that Has actually Created Drought
You’d imagine building a reservoir would help to eliminate drought, but in actual fact, some people believe the Three Gorges Dam has caused problems with water. This is another of the Three Gorges Dam facts that is quite alarming. At the current moment in time, China has the largest population of any country in the world at 1.3 billion people. Hundreds of millions of Chinese people have no, or limited, access to clean drinking water – a worrying statistic.
The Inception of the Dam goes Back 90 Years – Much Further than Many Think
Although the building and construction has taken place within recent years, the inception and ideas for the project actually came into being some 90 years ago. It was the first proper President of the Republic of China, Sun Yan-set, who had the idea, but it wasn’t until the mid-part of the 20th century that firm plans were put into place when Mao Zedong spoke of his vision for the project to take place. However, it was 1994 before construction began properly.
It Is the World’s Largest Hydropower Plant
The Three Gorges Dam facts and figures surrounding its output are truly astonishing. It has 26 turbine generator sets, which will each be able to produce 700,000 kilowatts. In total, it will have a capacity of 18.2 million kilowatts. In addition to this, it will be connected to the hydroelectric grids in Central and Eastern China and its aim is to increase the stability of the power supply to these regions.
The Dam Is Made With 510,000 Tons of Steel
It is built entirely of steel and concrete, and during its construction it used 510,000 tons of steel. To put this into context, that’s enough to build the Eiffel Tower 60 times over! Many will have heard the fable that the Great Wall of China is visible from the moon; well, it is also alleged that the Three Gorges Dam is visible from there, too.
In the Event of a Natural Disaster, 360 Million Lives Might Be in Danger
The Three Gorges Dam pros and cons have caused consternation among many. Experts are at pains to point out that the dam could easily withstand a large earthquake. However, if the worst was to happen and it did collapse, there is the potential for 360 million lives to be put in danger – that’s basically anyone living within the catchment of the Yangtze River. That’s a truly frightening thought and something that many are worried about, though the same experts say it is unlikely this would ever occur.
Despite all Its Problems, It Has Improved China’s Emissions Record
The Three Gorges Dam will be able to reduce coal consumption by almost 31 million tonnes per year, which would end up resulting in 100 million tonnes less of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, one million tonnes less of sulphur dioxide, 370,000 tonnes less of nitric oxide, and one million tonnes less of dust. Hydropower is believed to save an incredible amount of time and money in order to mine, wash and move coal in and around Northern China. It has increased the Yangtze River’s barge capacity six times over, and reduced carbon emissions by well over six million tonnes. It is believed to be a much more environmentally friendly way of transporting goods than trucking.
Three Gorges Dam Facts – Facts about Three Gorges Dam Summary
Three Gorges Dam facts tell use the construction began some 21 years ago and completion was in 2008, though the initial idea for the project came about some 90 years ago. It caused 1.3 million people to lose their homes. Due to the mass shifting of 9.4 cubic miles of water, there will be a slight slowing down of the rotation of Planet Earth. However, it has reduced coal consumption by 31 million tonnes per year and has resulted in 100 million tonnes less of Greenhouse Gas Emissions.