਀㰀䴀䔀吀䄀 渀愀洀攀㴀䜀䔀一䔀刀䄀吀伀刀 挀漀渀琀攀渀琀㴀∀䴀匀䠀吀䴀䰀 㠀⸀  ⸀㘀  ㄀⸀㄀㤀 ㄀㤀∀㸀㰀⼀䠀䔀䄀䐀㸀 Three Gorges Dam crisis in slow motion
By Peter Lee

Dams are big and stupid things. The Three Gorges Dam on China's Yangtze River is bigger and stupider than most, so it attracts a lot of criticism. Much of the criticism is deserved. Some of it - such as accusations that it has significantly exacerbated the drought gripping China - is, perhaps, undeserved.

All of the criticism, however, is an important harbinger of mounting political problems for China's authoritarian model of national development.

The Three Gorges Dam, or TGD, is very much the bastard child of the Tiananmen democratic movement of 1989 and the ensuing crackdown.

Popular activists, led by author Dai Qing, tried to stop the dam in the name of transparency, accountability and democracy. After Tiananmen, the Chinese government built and promoted the dam as a symbol of the government's determination to pursue economic development over political reform and in the teeth of international economic sanctions.

TGD was also a public vote of confidence in then Chinese premier Li Peng, who was at the time internationally excoriated as "The Butcher of Beijing" for ordering the crackdown. Li, trained as a hydropower engineer, was an enthusiastic advocate for the project, and allegedly had strong family as well as professional and public interest in the construction of the dam.

Because of its potent symbolism, negative reporting on the dam was actively discouraged in the Chinese national press for two decades.

Therefore, it was significant news when the State Council, China's cabinet, went public recently with the information that it was necessary to throw another 20 billion yuan (US$3 billion) or so at the Three Gorges in order to deal with landslide, pollution and relocation issues.

Most probably, the State Council announcement reflected the priorities of Premier Wen Jiabao. Wen, who is responsible for projecting the friendly, caring face of the Chinese government, has made it his priority to respond to popular dissatisfaction with bloated, destructive hydropower projects promoted by greedy local governments and powerful national utilities.

Famously, Wen pulled the plug on the Leaping Tiger Gorge Dam in 2008, after reading an investigative report by Liu Jianqiang in the Guangzhou-based Nanfang (Southern) Daily blasting the rogue project.

The Western press, however, decided not to spin the State Council announcement as "China's government makes a belated but welcome step toward transparency and public engagement by breaking silence on TGD problems".

Instead, some outlets decided to use the Yangtze basin drought as a news hook for the story. As the Washington Post reported, "Amid severe drought, Chinese government admits mistakes with Three Gorges Dam." [1] CNN pitched in with "Has the Three Gorges Dam created Chinese drought zone?" [2] Associated Press: "China drought renews debate over Three Gorges Dam." [3]

In example of the bloggy "it would be irresponsible not to speculate" writing that news outlets increasingly turn to in order to fill their pages and attract readers, Elaine Kurtenbach of AP reported the allegation that "many villagers and some scientists suspect the dam ... could also be altering weather patterns, contributing to the lowest rainfall some areas have seen in a half century or more."

A modicum of research - ie recollecting that the Yangtze experienced one of the biggest floods in its history in the not-too-distant past, that is to say 10 months ago - casts doubt on this particular exercise in empirical inquiry.

The Yangtze River basin historically has a surplus of water, not a dearth, and this situation is likely to persist. Research on the effects of climate change on the Yangtze River basin predicts that global warming - not the TGD - will bring more rainfall in brief, more intense episodes from the summer monsoon. It was therefore undoubtedly a matter of considerable but not unexpected relief to the government as Xinhua reported that the drought broke under torrential rains - as much as 10 inches in some localities.

In a sure sign of the journalistic apocalypse, it fell to China's leading purveyor of knuckleheaded nationalism, Global Times, to provide some useful perspective on the purported TGD/drought link: it interviewed Zhang Boting, deputy general secretary of the China Society for Hydropower Engineering, obviously a hardcore dam enthusiast.

Zhang harrumphed: ਀㰀䈀䰀伀䌀䬀儀唀伀吀䔀㸀䤀琀 椀猀 愀戀猀甀爀搀⸀ 吀栀攀爀攀 愀爀攀 洀漀爀攀 琀栀愀渀 ㈀  搀愀洀猀 椀渀 琀栀攀 眀漀爀氀搀 氀愀爀最攀爀 琀栀愀渀 琀栀攀 吀栀爀攀攀 䜀漀爀最攀猀 䐀愀洀⸀ 䈀甀琀 䤀 渀攀瘀攀爀 栀攀愀爀搀 漀昀 琀栀攀洀 挀愀甀猀椀渀最 搀爀漀甀最栀琀猀⸀ 吀栀攀 戀椀最 昀氀漀漀搀 氀愀猀琀 礀攀愀爀 挀漀甀氀搀 戀攀 愀 最漀漀搀 爀攀昀甀琀愀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 琀栀椀猀 挀氀愀椀洀⸀ 䤀琀 椀猀 椀洀瀀漀猀猀椀戀氀攀 昀漀爀 椀琀 琀漀 挀愀甀猀攀 戀漀琀栀 搀爀漀甀最栀琀 愀渀搀 昀氀漀漀搀⸀ 嬀㐀崀㰀⼀䈀䰀伀䌀䬀儀唀伀吀䔀㸀䈀攀礀漀渀搀 猀琀爀愀眀ⴀ洀愀渀 椀猀猀甀攀猀 漀昀 挀氀椀洀愀琀攀 瀀猀攀甀搀漀ⴀ猀挀椀攀渀挀攀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 吀䜀䐀 漀瀀攀爀愀琀漀爀猀 搀椀搀 栀漀最 眀愀琀攀爀 氀愀猀琀 礀攀愀爀 椀渀 漀爀搀攀爀 琀漀 愀挀栀椀攀瘀攀 琀栀攀 昀椀爀猀琀ⴀ琀椀洀攀 昀椀氀氀 漀昀 琀栀攀 爀攀猀攀爀瘀漀椀爀 琀漀 琀栀攀 ㄀㜀㔀ⴀ洀攀琀攀爀 洀愀砀椀洀甀洀Ⰰ 漀渀 琀栀攀 渀漀琀 甀渀眀愀爀爀愀渀琀攀搀 戀甀琀 甀渀昀甀氀昀椀氀氀攀搀 愀猀猀甀洀瀀琀椀漀渀 琀栀愀琀 猀瀀爀椀渀最 爀愀椀渀猀 眀漀甀氀搀 挀漀瘀攀爀 琀栀攀 琀攀洀瀀漀爀愀爀礀 搀漀眀渀猀琀爀攀愀洀 猀栀漀爀琀愀最攀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀吀栀攀 最漀瘀攀爀渀洀攀渀琀 猀甀戀猀攀焀甀攀渀琀氀礀 愀搀洀椀琀琀攀搀 琀栀愀琀 琀栀攀 氀愀爀最攀Ⰰ 猀栀愀氀氀漀眀 氀愀欀攀猀 琀栀愀琀 昀漀爀洀 昀氀漀漀搀 戀愀猀椀渀猀 椀渀 琀栀攀 洀椀搀搀氀攀 夀愀渀最琀稀攀 ⴀ 瀀愀爀琀椀挀甀氀愀爀氀礀 䈀漀礀愀渀最 愀渀搀 䐀漀渀最琀椀渀最 䰀愀欀攀猀 ⴀ 眀攀爀攀 氀漀眀攀爀 琀栀愀渀 甀猀甀愀氀 愀猀 愀 爀攀猀甀氀琀 愀渀搀 搀爀椀攀搀 甀瀀 搀爀愀洀愀琀椀挀愀氀氀礀 搀甀爀椀渀最 琀栀攀 甀渀瀀爀攀挀攀搀攀渀琀攀搀 搀爀漀甀最栀琀Ⰰ 攀砀愀挀攀爀戀愀琀椀渀最 氀漀挀愀氀 栀愀爀搀猀栀椀瀀猀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀吀栀攀爀攀 椀猀 愀氀猀漀 琀栀攀 椀猀猀甀攀 漀昀 眀栀攀琀栀攀爀 琀栀攀 爀攀瀀甀琀攀搀氀礀 最爀攀攀搀礀 愀渀搀 挀愀氀氀漀甀猀 漀瀀攀爀愀琀漀爀猀 漀昀 琀栀攀 吀䜀䐀 栀礀搀爀漀瀀漀眀攀爀 猀琀愀琀椀漀渀 爀攀猀椀猀琀攀搀 爀攀氀攀愀猀椀渀最 搀爀漀甀最栀琀ⴀ爀攀氀椀攀昀 眀愀琀攀爀 昀爀漀洀 琀栀攀 搀愀洀 猀漀 琀栀愀琀 漀瀀琀椀洀甀洀 栀攀愀搀 昀漀爀 瀀漀眀攀爀 最攀渀攀爀愀琀椀漀渀 ⠀愀渀搀 瀀爀漀昀椀琀猀⤀ 挀漀甀氀搀 戀攀 洀愀椀渀琀愀椀渀攀搀⸀ 吀栀攀礀 瀀爀漀戀愀戀氀礀 搀椀搀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 椀琀 琀漀漀欀 愀 栀椀最栀氀礀 瀀甀戀氀椀挀椀稀攀搀 搀椀爀攀挀琀椀瘀攀 昀爀漀洀 琀栀攀 䌀栀椀渀攀猀攀 最漀瘀攀爀渀洀攀渀琀 琀漀 漀瀀攀渀 琀栀攀 昀氀漀漀搀最愀琀攀猀 愀渀搀 猀攀渀搀 ㌀⸀㜀 戀椀氀氀椀漀渀 琀漀渀渀攀猀 漀昀 眀愀琀攀爀 ⠀愀戀漀甀琀 ㄀ ─ 漀昀 琀栀攀 爀攀猀攀爀瘀漀椀爀✀猀 挀愀瀀愀挀椀琀礀⤀ 搀漀眀渀猀琀爀攀愀洀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀䈀甀琀 琀栀椀猀 椀猀 愀渀 漀瀀攀爀愀琀椀漀渀愀氀 椀猀猀甀攀 ⴀ 愀渀搀 琀栀攀 瀀爀愀挀琀椀挀愀氀 愀猀猀椀猀琀愀渀挀攀 琀栀攀 爀攀氀攀愀猀攀 瀀爀漀瘀椀搀攀搀 琀漀 ⠀愀渀搀 琀栀攀 眀漀攀猀 琀栀攀 氀愀琀攀 ㈀ ㄀ ⴀ攀愀爀氀礀 ㈀ ㄀㄀ 爀攀搀甀挀攀搀 昀氀漀眀猀 椀渀昀氀椀挀琀攀搀 甀瀀漀渀⤀ 琀栀攀 夀愀渀最琀稀攀✀猀 瘀愀猀琀 搀爀漀甀最栀琀ⴀ挀爀椀瀀瀀氀攀搀 洀椀搀搀氀攀 愀渀搀 氀漀眀攀爀 爀攀愀挀栀攀猀 椀猀 焀甀攀猀琀椀漀渀愀戀氀攀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀吀栀攀 甀渀搀攀爀氀礀椀渀最 昀愀挀琀 椀猀 琀栀愀琀 琀栀攀 搀愀洀 最椀瘀攀猀 䌀栀椀渀攀猀攀 瀀氀愀渀渀攀爀猀 愀搀搀椀琀椀漀渀愀氀 昀氀攀砀椀戀椀氀椀琀礀 椀渀 洀愀渀愀最椀渀最 猀琀漀爀愀最攀 愀渀搀 爀攀氀攀愀猀攀 漀昀 眀愀琀攀爀 琀漀 愀搀愀瀀琀 琀漀 攀砀琀爀攀洀攀猀 椀渀 爀愀椀渀昀愀氀氀 愀渀搀 搀爀漀甀最栀琀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀吀栀攀 瀀爀漀最渀漀猀椀猀 昀漀爀 䌀栀椀渀愀Ⰰ 琀栀攀爀攀昀漀爀攀Ⰰ 椀猀 洀漀爀攀 搀愀洀猀Ⰰ 渀漀琀 昀攀眀攀爀Ⰰ 愀猀 䐀爀 䨀漀栀渀 夀椀渀Ⰰ 愀 栀礀搀爀漀氀漀最椀猀琀 愀琀 琀栀攀 唀渀椀瘀攀爀猀椀琀礀 漀昀 匀愀渀 䐀椀攀最漀Ⰰ 琀漀氀搀 䄀猀椀愀 吀椀洀攀猀 伀渀氀椀渀攀㨀 
I believe that these recent extreme events will provide ammunition to those who want to build more large dams for increasing storage capacity to handle flooding and/or water shortage problems.
਀㰀倀㸀䐀椀猀爀攀最愀爀搀椀渀最 琀栀攀 搀爀漀甀最栀琀 爀攀搀 栀攀爀爀椀渀最Ⰰ 琀栀攀 瀀愀猀琀 栀椀猀琀漀爀礀 愀渀搀 瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀 挀椀爀挀甀洀猀琀愀渀挀攀猀 漀昀 琀栀攀 吀栀爀攀攀 䜀漀爀最攀猀 瀀爀漀樀攀挀琀 瀀漀椀渀琀 琀漀 椀洀瀀漀爀琀愀渀琀 猀琀爀甀挀琀甀爀愀氀 椀猀猀甀攀猀 昀漀爀 䌀栀椀渀愀✀猀 瀀漀氀椀琀椀挀猀 愀渀搀 攀挀漀渀漀洀礀Ⰰ 椀渀挀氀甀搀椀渀最 瀀爀漀戀氀攀洀猀 琀栀愀琀 渀攀椀琀栀攀爀 琀栀攀 瀀爀漀樀攀挀琀猀 猀甀瀀瀀漀爀琀攀爀猀 漀爀 挀爀椀琀椀挀猀 漀爀椀最椀渀愀氀氀礀 愀渀琀椀挀椀瀀愀琀攀搀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀倀甀戀氀椀挀 瀀漀氀椀挀礀 愀搀瘀漀挀愀琀攀猀Ⰰ 氀椀欀攀 最攀渀攀爀愀氀猀Ⰰ 猀漀洀攀琀椀洀攀猀 昀椀渀搀 琀栀攀洀猀攀氀瘀攀猀 爀攀昀椀最栀琀椀渀最 琀栀攀 氀愀猀琀 眀愀爀 椀渀猀琀攀愀搀 漀昀 甀渀搀攀爀猀琀愀渀搀椀渀最 愀渀搀 洀愀猀琀攀爀椀渀最 琀栀攀 挀甀爀爀攀渀琀 戀愀琀琀氀攀昀椀攀氀搀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀吀栀攀 瀀爀攀瘀椀漀甀猀 圀愀琀攀爀氀漀漀 漀昀 䌀栀椀渀攀猀攀 栀礀搀爀漀氀漀最礀 眀愀猀 琀栀攀 匀愀渀 䴀攀渀 堀椀愀 䐀愀洀Ⰰ 愀 最椀最愀渀琀椀挀 昀愀椀氀甀爀攀 昀漀爀 眀栀椀挀栀 䌀栀愀椀爀洀愀渀 䴀愀漀 愀渀搀 栀椀猀 椀洀洀攀渀猀攀 栀甀戀爀椀猀 眀攀爀攀 搀椀爀攀挀琀氀礀 爀攀猀瀀漀渀猀椀戀氀攀⸀ 䈀甀椀氀琀 漀渀 琀栀攀 夀攀氀氀漀眀 刀椀瘀攀爀 眀椀琀栀 匀漀瘀椀攀琀 愀猀猀椀猀琀愀渀挀攀 椀渀 琀栀攀 ㄀㤀㔀 猀 愀渀搀 搀攀猀瀀攀爀愀琀攀氀礀 愀渀搀 攀砀瀀攀渀猀椀瘀攀氀礀 爀攀瀀愀椀爀攀搀 戀礀 䌀栀椀渀愀 愀氀漀渀攀 椀渀 琀栀攀 ㄀㤀㘀 猀Ⰰ 椀琀 挀漀渀猀甀洀攀搀 愀 搀椀猀瀀爀漀瀀漀爀琀椀漀渀愀琀攀 猀栀愀爀攀 漀昀 琀栀攀 渀愀琀椀漀渀愀氀 戀甀搀最攀琀 愀渀搀 猀攀爀瘀攀搀 愀猀 愀 搀爀愀最 漀渀 攀挀漀渀漀洀椀挀 最爀漀眀琀栀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀䤀洀瀀爀漀瀀攀爀氀礀 猀椀琀攀搀 愀渀搀 搀攀猀椀最渀攀搀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 搀愀洀✀猀 爀攀猀攀爀瘀漀椀爀 猀椀氀琀攀搀 甀瀀 愀氀洀漀猀琀 椀洀洀攀搀椀愀琀攀氀礀⸀ 刀椀瘀攀爀猀 昀攀攀搀椀渀最 琀栀攀 爀攀猀攀爀瘀漀椀爀 猀氀漀眀攀搀 愀渀搀 搀甀洀瀀攀搀 琀栀攀椀爀 猀攀搀椀洀攀渀琀Ⰰ 爀愀椀猀椀渀最 戀攀搀猀 愀渀搀 椀渀挀爀攀愀猀椀渀最 昀氀漀漀搀 爀椀猀欀⸀ 圀椀琀栀椀渀 洀漀渀琀栀猀Ⰰ 匀栀愀愀渀砀椀✀猀 挀愀瀀椀琀愀氀Ⰰ 堀椀愀渀Ⰰ 昀愀挀攀搀 琀栀攀 爀攀愀氀 琀栀爀攀愀琀 漀昀 椀渀甀渀搀愀琀椀漀渀 椀渀 琀栀攀 渀攀砀琀 洀愀樀漀爀 昀氀漀漀搀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀䠀甀渀搀爀攀搀猀 漀昀 琀栀漀甀猀愀渀搀猀 漀昀 瀀攀漀瀀氀攀 眀攀爀攀 搀椀猀瀀氀愀挀攀搀 昀爀漀洀 爀椀挀栀 匀栀愀愀渀砀椀 昀愀爀洀氀愀渀搀 愀渀搀 爀攀氀漀挀愀琀攀搀 椀渀琀漀 栀漀瀀攀氀攀猀猀 搀攀猀漀氀愀琀椀漀渀⸀ 吀栀攀椀爀 㔀 ⴀ礀攀愀爀 猀琀爀甀最最氀攀 琀漀 爀攀琀甀爀渀 愀渀搀 漀戀琀愀椀渀 昀愀椀爀 挀漀洀瀀攀渀猀愀琀椀漀渀 愀渀搀 琀爀攀愀琀洀攀渀琀 椀猀 搀漀挀甀洀攀渀琀攀搀 椀渀 堀椀攀 䌀栀愀漀瀀椀渀最✀猀 猀愀洀椀稀搀愀琀 攀瀀椀挀Ⰰ 㰀䤀㸀吀栀攀 䜀爀攀愀琀 刀攀氀漀挀愀琀椀漀渀㰀⼀䤀㸀⸀ 嬀㔀崀 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀䠀椀猀琀漀爀礀 氀漀漀欀攀搀 瀀爀椀洀攀搀 琀漀 爀攀瀀攀愀琀 椀琀猀攀氀昀 眀椀琀栀 琀栀攀 吀栀爀攀攀 䜀漀爀最攀猀 䐀愀洀Ⰰ 愀 搀爀攀愀洀 漀昀 匀甀渀 夀愀琀ⴀ猀攀渀✀猀 琀栀愀琀 栀愀搀 戀攀攀渀 愀搀漀瀀琀攀搀 愀猀 琀栀攀 䌀栀椀渀攀猀攀 䌀漀洀洀甀渀椀猀琀 倀愀爀琀礀✀猀 渀愀琀椀漀渀愀氀 瀀爀椀漀爀椀琀礀 椀渀 琀栀攀 ㄀㤀㠀 猀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀䄀猀 瀀漀氀椀琀椀挀愀氀 昀攀爀洀攀渀琀 愀渀搀 搀攀洀愀渀搀猀 昀漀爀 洀漀爀攀 琀爀愀渀猀瀀愀爀攀渀琀 愀渀搀 爀攀猀瀀漀渀猀椀瘀攀 最漀瘀攀爀渀洀攀渀琀 猀眀攀瀀琀 䌀栀椀渀愀 椀渀 ㄀㤀㠀㤀Ⰰ 䐀愀椀 儀椀渀最 攀氀攀瘀愀琀攀搀 漀瀀瀀漀猀椀琀椀漀渀 琀漀 琀栀攀 吀䜀䐀 琀漀 愀 渀愀琀椀漀渀愀氀 挀爀甀猀愀搀攀⸀ 匀栀攀 瀀爀攀瀀愀爀攀搀 愀 挀漀洀瀀攀渀搀椀甀洀 漀昀 愀爀琀椀挀氀攀猀 愀渀搀 椀渀琀攀爀瘀椀攀眀猀 琀椀琀氀攀搀 㰀䤀㸀夀愀渀最琀稀攀℀ 夀愀渀最琀稀攀℀㰀⼀䤀㸀 琀漀 搀椀猀琀爀椀戀甀琀攀 琀漀 搀攀氀攀最愀琀攀猀 琀漀 琀栀攀 一愀琀椀漀渀愀氀 倀攀漀瀀氀攀✀猀 䌀漀渀最爀攀猀猀 愀渀搀 猀甀瀀瀀漀爀琀 攀昀昀漀爀琀猀 琀漀 戀氀漀挀欀 挀漀渀猀琀爀甀挀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 琀栀攀 搀愀洀⸀ 吀栀攀 戀漀漀欀 眀愀猀 猀甀瀀瀀爀攀猀猀攀搀 愀渀搀 䐀愀椀 眀愀猀 椀洀瀀爀椀猀漀渀攀搀 昀漀爀 猀攀瘀攀爀愀氀 洀漀渀琀栀猀 瀀漀猀琀ⴀ吀椀愀渀愀渀洀攀渀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䤀㸀夀愀渀最琀稀攀℀ 夀愀渀最琀稀攀℀㰀⼀䤀㸀 眀愀猀 愀 挀愀爀攀昀甀氀氀礀 爀攀猀攀愀爀挀栀攀搀 戀爀椀攀昀 搀攀猀椀最渀攀搀 琀漀 搀攀洀漀渀猀琀爀愀琀攀 琀栀愀琀 挀椀琀椀稀攀渀 愀挀琀椀瘀椀猀琀猀 挀漀甀氀搀 搀漀 愀 戀攀琀琀攀爀 樀漀戀 漀昀 最甀椀搀椀渀最 䌀栀椀渀愀✀猀 栀礀搀爀愀甀氀椀挀 瀀漀氀椀挀礀 琀栀愀渀 琀栀攀 戀攀猀瀀漀欀攀 栀愀挀欀猀 椀渀 琀栀攀 䴀椀渀椀猀琀爀礀 漀昀 圀愀琀攀爀 刀攀猀漀甀爀挀攀猀⸀ 䤀琀猀 挀愀猀攀 愀最愀椀渀猀琀 琀栀攀 搀愀洀 琀漀甀挀栀攀搀 漀渀 洀愀渀礀 椀猀猀甀攀猀Ⰰ 戀甀琀 瀀爀椀洀愀爀椀氀礀 椀渀瘀漀欀攀搀 琀栀攀 匀愀渀 䴀攀渀 堀椀愀 昀椀愀猀挀漀 漀渀 琀栀攀 椀猀猀甀攀猀 漀昀 甀渀猀甀瀀瀀漀爀琀愀戀氀攀 挀漀猀琀 愀渀搀 挀愀琀愀猀琀爀漀瀀栀椀挀 猀攀搀椀洀攀渀琀愀琀椀漀渀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀䐀愀椀 眀愀猀 眀爀漀渀最 愀戀漀甀琀 琀栀攀 挀漀猀琀 漀昀 琀栀攀 搀愀洀 挀漀渀猀琀爀甀挀琀椀漀渀 栀椀渀搀攀爀椀渀最 䌀栀椀渀愀✀猀 最爀漀眀琀栀⸀ 䌀栀椀渀愀 渀漀琀 漀渀氀礀 戀甀椀氀琀 椀琀猀 搀愀洀㬀 漀瘀攀爀 琀栀攀 渀攀砀琀 ㈀  礀攀愀爀猀Ⰰ 椀琀 眀愀猀 愀氀猀漀 愀戀氀攀 琀漀 漀瘀攀爀ⴀ椀渀瘀攀猀琀 椀渀 瘀椀爀琀甀愀氀氀礀 攀瘀攀爀礀 挀椀瘀椀氀 愀渀搀 椀渀搀甀猀琀爀椀愀氀 愀猀猀攀琀 欀渀漀眀渀 琀漀 栀甀洀愀渀欀椀渀搀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀吀栀攀 䌀栀椀渀攀猀攀 最漀瘀攀爀渀洀攀渀琀 愀氀猀漀 搀攀洀漀渀猀琀爀愀琀攀搀 椀琀 挀漀甀氀搀 搀攀瀀氀漀礀 猀椀最渀椀昀椀挀愀渀琀 琀攀挀栀渀椀挀愀氀Ⰰ 昀椀渀愀渀挀椀愀氀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 瀀漀氀椀琀椀挀愀氀 爀攀猀漀甀爀挀攀猀 漀渀 琀栀攀 挀漀渀猀琀爀甀挀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 攀渀漀爀洀漀甀猀 愀渀搀 猀甀挀挀攀猀猀昀甀氀 搀愀洀猀 琀栀爀漀甀最栀漀甀琀 䌀栀椀渀愀Ⰰ 椀洀瀀氀礀椀渀最 琀栀攀 挀愀瀀愀戀椀氀椀琀礀 琀漀 洀愀渀愀最攀 琀栀攀 挀爀椀琀椀挀愀氀 瀀爀漀戀氀攀洀 漀昀 吀䜀䐀 猀攀搀椀洀攀渀琀愀琀椀漀渀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀䤀渀 ㄀㤀㤀㌀Ⰰ 䐀愀椀 儀椀渀最 椀渀琀攀爀瘀椀攀眀攀搀 䠀甀愀渀最 圀愀渀氀椀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 漀渀氀礀 䌀栀椀渀攀猀攀 栀礀搀爀漀氀漀最椀猀琀 戀爀愀瘀攀 攀渀漀甀最栀 琀漀 戀甀挀欀 䌀栀愀椀爀洀愀渀 䴀愀漀 愀渀搀 栀椀猀 挀漀琀攀爀椀攀 愀渀搀 爀攀昀甀猀攀 琀漀 攀渀搀漀爀猀攀 琀栀攀 匀愀渀 䴀攀渀 堀椀愀 搀愀洀 搀甀爀椀渀最 椀琀猀 愀瀀瀀爀漀瘀愀氀 瀀栀愀猀攀⸀ 䠀攀 琀漀氀搀 䐀愀椀 琀栀愀琀 吀栀爀攀攀 䜀漀爀最攀猀Ⰰ 甀渀氀椀欀攀 匀愀渀 䴀攀渀 堀椀愀Ⰰ 眀愀猀 氀漀挀愀琀攀搀 椀渀 愀 ∀猀挀漀甀爀椀渀最∀ 稀漀渀攀 爀愀琀栀攀爀 琀栀愀渀 愀 ∀搀攀瀀漀猀椀琀椀漀渀∀ 稀漀渀攀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀䤀渀 漀琀栀攀爀 眀漀爀搀猀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 吀䜀䐀 爀攀猀攀爀瘀漀椀爀 挀漀甀氀搀 琀栀攀漀爀攀琀椀挀愀氀氀礀 戀攀 昀氀甀猀栀攀搀 漀甀琀 眀椀琀栀 椀渀琀攀爀洀椀琀琀攀渀琀 栀椀最栀 昀氀漀眀 爀攀氀攀愀猀攀 漀昀 猀攀搀椀洀攀渀琀ⴀ氀愀搀攀渀 眀愀琀攀爀⸀ 䠀漀眀攀瘀攀爀Ⰰ 愀猀 愀 瀀爀愀挀琀椀挀愀氀 洀愀琀琀攀爀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 挀漀愀爀猀攀 最爀愀瘀攀氀 愀渀搀 爀漀挀欀猀 挀愀爀爀椀攀搀 琀栀爀漀甀最栀 匀椀挀栀甀愀渀 椀渀 琀栀攀 夀愀渀最琀稀攀 挀漀甀氀搀 渀漀琀 戀攀 昀氀甀猀栀攀搀 漀甀琀 戀攀挀愀甀猀攀 漀昀 琀栀攀椀爀 猀椀稀攀 愀渀搀 眀攀椀最栀琀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 琀栀攀 爀攀猀攀爀瘀漀椀爀 眀漀甀氀搀 猀椀氀琀 甀瀀⸀ 吀栀攀渀Ⰰ 椀渀 愀 爀攀瀀氀愀礀 漀昀 琀栀攀 堀椀愀渀 挀爀椀猀椀猀Ⰰ 䌀栀漀渀最焀椀渀最✀猀 瀀漀爀琀 漀昀 䨀椀甀氀漀渀最瀀甀Ⰰ 渀攀愀爀 琀栀攀 眀攀猀琀 攀渀搀 漀昀 琀栀攀 吀䜀䐀 爀攀猀攀爀瘀漀椀爀Ⰰ 眀漀甀氀搀 戀攀挀漀洀攀 甀渀甀猀愀戀氀攀 眀椀琀栀椀渀 ㄀  礀攀愀爀猀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀吀栀攀 樀甀爀礀 椀猀 愀瀀瀀愀爀攀渀琀氀礀 猀琀椀氀氀 漀甀琀 漀渀 琀栀攀 猀攀搀椀洀攀渀琀愀琀椀漀渀 椀猀猀甀攀⸀ 䄀渀搀 䌀栀椀渀愀✀猀 最漀瘀攀爀渀洀攀渀琀Ⰰ 椀渀 挀漀渀琀爀愀猀琀 琀漀 椀琀猀 昀爀愀渀琀椀挀Ⰰ 甀渀搀攀爀昀甀渀搀攀搀 愀瀀瀀爀漀愀挀栀 琀漀 琀栀攀 匀愀渀 䴀攀渀 堀椀愀 搀攀戀愀挀氀攀Ⰰ 椀猀 琀栀爀漀眀椀渀最 愀 氀漀琀 漀昀 爀攀猀漀甀爀挀攀猀 愀琀 琀栀攀 吀栀爀攀攀 䜀漀爀最攀猀 瀀爀漀戀氀攀洀 戀攀昀漀爀攀 椀琀 戀攀挀漀洀攀猀 甀渀琀攀渀愀戀氀攀⸀ 䈀甀琀 琀栀椀渀最猀 搀漀渀✀琀 氀漀漀欀 瀀愀爀琀椀挀甀氀愀爀氀礀 最漀漀搀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀䤀渀 ㈀  㐀Ⰰ 攀渀瘀椀爀漀渀洀攀渀琀愀氀 樀漀甀爀渀愀氀椀猀琀 䰀椀甀 䨀椀愀渀焀椀渀最 瀀攀渀渀攀搀 愀渀 椀渀瘀攀猀琀椀最愀琀椀瘀攀 爀攀瀀漀爀琀 琀栀愀琀 猀琀爀椀瀀瀀攀搀 愀眀愀礀 洀甀挀栀 漀昀 琀栀攀 漀瀀琀椀洀椀猀琀椀挀 瀀甀戀氀椀挀 爀攀氀愀琀椀漀渀猀 昀愀䜀愎搀攀 攀爀攀挀琀攀搀 戀礀 琀栀攀 䌀栀椀渀攀猀攀 最漀瘀攀爀渀洀攀渀琀⸀ 䠀攀 爀攀瘀攀愀氀攀搀 琀栀愀琀 氀愀渀搀猀氀椀搀攀猀 眀攀爀攀 愀 洀甀挀栀 洀漀爀攀 猀攀瘀攀爀攀 瀀爀漀戀氀攀洀 琀栀愀渀 漀爀椀最椀渀愀氀氀礀 愀搀瘀攀爀琀椀猀攀搀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 琀栀攀 渀甀洀戀攀爀 漀昀 瀀攀漀瀀氀攀 眀栀漀 洀椀最栀琀 栀愀瘀攀 琀漀 戀攀 爀攀氀漀挀愀琀攀搀 昀爀漀洀 甀渀猀琀愀戀氀攀 瀀愀爀琀猀 漀昀 琀栀攀 爀攀猀攀爀瘀漀椀爀 洀椀最栀琀 戀攀 搀漀甀戀氀攀 琀栀攀 漀爀椀最椀渀愀氀 攀猀琀椀洀愀琀攀 愀渀搀 爀攀愀挀栀 ㈀⸀㌀ 洀椀氀氀椀漀渀⸀☀渀戀猀瀀㬀㰀䈀刀㸀㰀⼀倀㸀

He observed that the series of five locks were a serious navigational bottleneck and not an economic panacea for the reservoir zone. The water in the reservoir was of filthy toilet quality. The much-touted relocation project - admittedly a vast improvement over the near-homicidal effort at San Men Xia - was failing many peasants through corruption, poor planning, and a shortage of economic opportunities.

Liu devoted most of the article to the existential issue: sedimentation.

਀㰀䈀䰀伀䌀䬀儀唀伀吀䔀㸀䤀 愀氀猀漀 猀瀀漀欀攀 漀渀 琀栀攀 琀攀氀攀瀀栀漀渀攀 琀漀 䰀椀 䌀栀愀渀最樀甀渀Ⰰ 搀攀瀀甀琀礀 栀攀愀搀 漀昀 琀栀攀 瀀氀愀渀渀椀渀最 猀攀挀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 䌀栀漀渀最焀椀渀最 吀爀愀渀猀瀀漀爀琀 䐀攀瀀愀爀琀洀攀渀琀⸀ 䠀攀 猀愀椀搀 琀栀愀琀 琀栀攀 愀挀挀甀洀甀氀愀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 猀攀搀椀洀攀渀琀 椀猀 ∀猀氀漀眀氀礀 戀攀挀漀洀椀渀最 愀 爀攀愀氀椀琀礀∀ 昀漀爀 䌀栀漀渀最焀椀渀最 瀀漀爀琀⸀ 嬀㘀崀㰀⼀䈀䰀伀䌀䬀儀唀伀吀䔀㸀

Liu also reported that the planned reservoir height of 175 meters the optimum for power generation - would create a crisis for Chongqing:

਀㰀䈀䰀伀䌀䬀儀唀伀吀䔀㸀刀漀渀最 吀椀愀渀昀甀 椀猀 漀渀 琀栀攀 吀栀爀攀攀 䜀漀爀最攀猀 瀀爀漀樀攀挀琀✀猀 瀀愀渀攀氀 漀昀 猀攀搀椀洀攀渀琀 攀砀瀀攀爀琀猀⸀ 䠀攀 椀猀 愀氀猀漀 愀 昀漀爀洀攀爀 挀栀椀攀昀 攀渀最椀渀攀攀爀 愀琀 琀栀攀 吀爀愀渀猀瀀漀爀琀 䴀椀渀椀猀琀爀礀✀猀 夀愀渀最琀稀攀 一愀瘀椀最愀琀椀漀渀 䈀甀爀攀愀甀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 眀愀猀 爀攀猀瀀漀渀猀椀戀氀攀 昀漀爀 椀猀猀甀攀猀 爀攀氀愀琀椀渀最 琀漀 䌀栀漀渀最焀椀渀最 瀀漀爀琀⸀ 䠀攀 琀漀氀搀 洀攀 琀栀愀琀 漀渀挀攀 琀栀攀 眀愀琀攀爀 氀攀瘀攀氀 椀渀 琀栀攀 爀攀猀攀爀瘀漀椀爀 爀攀愀挀栀攀猀 ㄀㜀㔀 洀攀琀攀爀猀Ⰰ 搀甀攀 琀漀 琀栀攀 愀挀挀甀洀甀氀愀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 猀攀搀椀洀攀渀琀Ⰰ 䌀栀漀渀最焀椀渀最✀猀 䨀椀甀氀漀渀最瀀漀 瀀漀爀琀 愀渀搀 䌀栀愀漀琀椀愀渀洀攀渀 眀栀愀爀昀 眀椀氀氀 戀漀琀栀 戀攀挀漀洀攀 甀渀渀愀瘀椀最愀戀氀攀⸀㰀⼀䈀䰀伀䌀䬀儀唀伀吀䔀㸀

As the reservoir bed rises, the city of Chongqing also becomes more vulnerable to flooding.

In 2010, the operating authority raised the reservoir level to 175 meters for the first time.

Dr Yin told Asia Times Online:

਀㰀䈀䰀伀䌀䬀儀唀伀吀䔀㸀吀栀攀爀攀 愀爀攀 爀攀瀀漀爀琀猀 琀栀愀琀 琀栀攀 夀愀渀最琀稀攀 刀椀瘀攀爀 猀攀搀椀洀攀渀琀 搀椀猀挀栀愀爀最攀 琀漀 琀栀攀 䔀愀猀琀 䌀栀椀渀愀 匀攀愀 栀愀猀 戀攀攀渀 猀椀最渀椀昀椀挀愀渀琀氀礀 爀攀搀甀挀攀搀 椀渀 爀攀挀攀渀琀 礀攀愀爀猀 昀漀爀 愀戀漀甀琀 琀栀攀 猀愀洀攀 愀洀漀甀渀琀 漀昀 眀愀琀攀爀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 琀栀愀琀 琀栀攀 爀椀瘀攀爀 挀栀愀渀渀攀氀 洀漀爀瀀栀漀氀漀最礀 椀猀 挀栀愀渀最椀渀最 搀漀眀渀猀琀爀攀愀洀 漀昀 吀䜀䐀 搀甀攀 琀漀 氀攀猀猀 猀攀搀椀洀攀渀琀 戀攀椀渀最 搀椀猀挀栀愀爀最攀搀⸀ 吀栀攀猀攀 愀爀攀 琀栀攀 攀瘀椀搀攀渀挀攀猀 漀昀 猀攀搀椀洀攀渀琀猀 戀攀椀渀最 栀攀氀搀 椀渀 琀栀攀 洀椀搀搀氀攀ⴀ甀瀀瀀攀爀 爀攀愀挀栀攀猀 漀昀 琀栀攀 爀椀瘀攀爀⸀ 䠀漀眀攀瘀攀爀Ⰰ 眀栀攀琀栀攀爀 琀栀攀 挀甀爀爀攀渀琀 漀戀猀攀爀瘀攀搀 猀攀搀椀洀攀渀琀愀琀椀漀渀 爀愀琀攀猀 椀渀 琀栀攀 爀攀猀攀爀瘀漀椀爀 愀爀攀 栀椀最栀攀爀 漀爀 氀漀眀攀爀 琀栀愀渀 琀栀攀 漀爀椀最椀渀愀氀 攀猀琀椀洀愀琀攀猀 瀀爀椀漀爀 琀漀 琀栀攀 挀漀渀猀琀爀甀挀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 琀栀攀 吀䜀䐀 椀猀 愀 焀甀攀猀琀椀漀渀 礀攀琀 琀漀 戀攀 愀渀猀眀攀爀攀搀 戀礀 琀栀攀 猀挀椀攀渀琀椀昀椀挀 挀漀洀洀甀渀椀琀礀⸀㰀⼀䈀䰀伀䌀䬀儀唀伀吀䔀㸀

The operating authority cycles reservoir height to various levels up to 175 meters depending on flow and demand conditions. The fluctuations exert serious stress on the local geology and trigger landslides (exacerbating the reservoir's sedimentation woes and raise the threat of destructive mini-tsunamis), but might also alleviate the impact on Chongqing.

China's hydrologists also hold out hope that dam construction on the Yangtze's Sichuan tributaries will stem the flow of sediment into the reservoir. In a 2009 paper, researchers at the Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute modeled sedimentation at Chongqing over 100 years with and without upstream reservoir construction. Outcome with reservoirs: pretty good. Outcome without reservoirs: not so good.

਀㰀䈀䰀伀䌀䬀儀唀伀吀䔀㸀☀嬠䄀崀昀琀攀爀 琀栀攀 挀漀渀猀琀爀甀挀琀椀漀渀 漀昀 爀攀猀攀爀瘀漀椀爀猀 椀渀 琀栀攀 甀瀀猀琀爀攀愀洀Ⰰ 嬀猀攀搀椀洀攀渀琀 搀攀瀀漀猀椀琀椀漀渀崀 爀攀搀甀挀攀猀 琀漀 ㄀㜀 洀椀氀氀椀漀渀 挀甀戀椀挀 洀攀琀攀爀猀Ⰰ 漀渀氀礀 ㄀ ⸀㌀─ 嬀漀昀 琀栀攀 搀攀瀀漀猀椀琀椀漀渀 眀椀琀栀漀甀琀 爀攀猀攀爀瘀漀椀爀猀⸀ 圀椀琀栀漀甀琀 爀攀猀攀爀瘀漀椀爀猀崀 琀栀攀 䌀栀漀渀最焀椀渀最 爀攀愀挀栀 栀愀猀 猀攀瘀攀爀攀 搀攀瀀漀猀椀琀椀漀渀Ⰰ 眀栀椀挀栀 挀漀瘀攀爀猀 愀戀漀甀琀 ㌀ ─ 琀漀 㐀 ─ 漀昀 琀栀攀 漀爀椀最椀渀愀氀 爀椀瘀攀爀 眀椀搀琀栀☀†嬀㜀崀㰀⼀䈀䰀伀䌀䬀儀唀伀吀䔀㸀

If anything is to be done to protect Chongqing's existing port, upstream reservoirs - and hundreds of millions of dollars - will be involved.

Despite the high-profile spiking of the Leaping Tiger Gorge Dam by Premier Wen Jiabao, construction of a series of dams on the wild Jinsha River is roaring along.

Also on the drawing board is another big dam just upstream of Chongqing. The Xiaonanhai Dam - enabled by the canny redrawing of the boundaries of an inconvenient wildlife refuge - will hopefully protect Chongqing at the cost of the last habitat of some fabled Yangtze aquatic life. Farewell, Yangtze sturgeon! Farewell, Zaijian Chinese paddlefish!

Presumably, the government is motivated both by the hydropower opportunities (the planned Jinsha stations will have a combined generating capacity of 60 gigawatts, exceeding that of the TGD by almost a factor of three) and the prospect of forestalling the politically inconvenient inundation of Chongqing.

Multiple hydropower projects on the Yangtze's many steep Sichuan tributaries - as opposed to a single megadam across the main river - were proposed by Dai Qing's interlocutors as a viable alternative for exploitation of the river's potential. If the network of upstream dams ends up saving the Three Gorges Dam's bacon, it would be a rather ironic outcome.

On the opposite end of the foresight and planning spectrum, it appears that the TGD operators intend to keep on doing what they do - optimizing power generation - and try to buy their way out of whatever problems might occur.

Liu again:

਀㰀䈀䰀伀䌀䬀儀唀伀吀䔀㸀䐀攀猀瀀椀琀攀 戀攀椀渀最 眀攀氀氀 愀眀愀爀攀 漀昀 琀栀攀 猀攀瘀攀爀椀琀礀 漀昀 琀栀攀 瀀爀漀戀氀攀洀Ⰰ 琀栀攀 吀栀爀攀攀 䜀漀爀最攀猀 倀爀漀樀攀挀琀 䌀漀爀瀀漀爀愀琀椀漀渀 栀愀猀 渀攀瘀攀爀 洀攀渀琀椀漀渀攀搀 愀渀礀琀栀椀渀最 愀戀漀甀琀 椀琀 琀漀 琀栀攀 瀀甀戀氀椀挀⸀ 䠀漀眀攀瘀攀爀Ⰰ 漀渀攀 攀洀瀀氀漀礀攀攀 漀昀 琀栀攀 挀漀洀瀀愀渀礀 琀漀氀搀 洀攀 琀栀愀琀 椀琀猀 昀漀爀洀攀爀 最攀渀攀爀愀氀 洀愀渀愀最攀爀Ⰰ 䰀甀 夀漀甀洀攀椀Ⰰ 漀渀挀攀 猀甀最最攀猀琀攀搀 琀栀攀 挀漀爀瀀漀爀愀琀椀漀渀 挀漀甀氀搀 瀀愀礀 琀栀攀 昀攀眀 栀甀渀搀爀攀搀 洀椀氀氀椀漀渀 礀甀愀渀 琀漀 爀攀氀漀挀愀琀攀 䨀椀甀氀漀渀最瀀漀 瀀漀爀琀 琀漀 愀 洀漀爀攀 渀愀瘀椀最愀戀氀攀 氀漀挀愀琀椀漀渀⸀ 圀栀攀渀 䤀 椀渀琀攀爀瘀椀攀眀攀搀 琀栀攀 搀攀瀀甀琀礀 最攀渀攀爀愀氀 洀愀渀愀最攀爀Ⰰ 䌀愀漀 䜀甀愀渀最樀椀渀最Ⰰ 栀攀 瀀甀琀 昀漀爀眀愀爀搀 琀栀攀 猀愀洀攀 椀搀攀愀⸀㰀⼀䈀䰀伀䌀䬀儀唀伀吀䔀㸀

Summing up, Yin told Asia Times Online:

਀㰀䈀䰀伀䌀䬀儀唀伀吀䔀㸀䄀猀 琀漀 眀栀漀 椀猀 爀椀最栀琀Ⰰ 䐀愀椀 儀椀渀最 漀爀 琀栀攀 最漀瘀攀爀渀洀攀渀琀Ⰰ 䤀 琀栀椀渀欀 漀渀氀礀 琀椀洀攀 眀椀氀氀 琀攀氀氀⸀ 䘀爀漀洀 琀栀攀 氀漀渀最ⴀ琀攀爀洀 瀀攀爀猀瀀攀挀琀椀瘀攀 漀昀 愀 最攀漀氀漀最椀挀 琀椀洀攀 猀挀愀氀攀Ⰰ 愀氀氀 氀愀欀攀猀 漀渀 攀愀爀琀栀Ⰰ 愀爀琀椀昀椀挀椀愀氀 漀爀 渀愀琀甀爀愀氀Ⰰ 愀爀攀 搀漀漀洀攀搀 戀攀挀愀甀猀攀 漀昀 猀攀搀椀洀攀渀琀愀琀椀漀渀⸀ 㰀䈀刀㸀㰀䈀刀㸀䄀猀 琀漀 琀栀攀 吀䜀䐀Ⰰ 琀栀攀爀攀 椀猀 愀 搀攀猀椀最渀攀搀 瀀爀漀樀攀挀琀 氀椀昀攀猀瀀愀渀 ⠀愀琀 氀攀愀猀琀 ㄀   礀攀愀爀猀 昀漀爀 洀愀樀漀爀 攀渀最椀渀攀攀爀椀渀最 猀琀爀甀挀琀甀爀攀猀 氀椀欀攀 氀愀爀最攀 搀愀洀猀⤀⸀ 匀漀 琀栀攀 焀甀攀猀琀椀漀渀 爀攀愀氀氀礀 椀猀 眀栀攀琀栀攀爀 猀攀搀椀洀攀渀琀愀琀椀漀渀 瀀爀漀戀氀攀洀 眀椀氀氀 猀椀最渀椀昀椀挀愀渀琀氀礀 猀栀漀爀琀攀渀 琀栀攀 搀攀猀椀最渀 氀椀昀攀猀瀀愀渀 漀昀 琀栀攀 瀀爀漀樀攀挀琀⸀㰀⼀䈀䰀伀䌀䬀儀唀伀吀䔀㸀

Sooner or later the reservoir will silt in and the Yangtze will meander through a newly created alluvial plain in the Three Gorges, topple over a man-made waterfall at the dam, and sluice profitably through a group of turbines on its way to the middle Yangtze basin.

One fifth of Sichuan will be at risk of floods (Huang Wanli's estimate). Chongqing's port and perhaps even chunks of the city will be relocated, presumably enriching officials and contractors in the process.

It may take less than 100 years for the Chinese public to calculate costs and benefits and form a verdict on the Three Gorges Dam. If things continue as they are - a cycle of persistent sedimentation and additional dam construction, and a spiral of pollution, landslides, relocation, corruption, and local economic stagnation - Sichuanese resentment will mirror the anger Shaanxi feels for the San Men Xia Dam. That will be an expensive problem … and a problem that, in the end, money might not be able to solve.

In 1993, Huang told Dai Qing:

਀㰀䈀䰀伀䌀䬀儀唀伀吀䔀㸀吀栀攀 爀攀猀椀搀攀渀琀猀 漀昀 匀椀挀栀甀愀渀 眀椀氀氀 渀愀琀甀爀愀氀氀礀 戀攀最椀渀 琀漀 愀猀欀 眀栀礀 ⸀⸀⸀ 琀栀攀礀 洀甀猀琀 洀愀欀攀 猀甀挀栀 猀愀挀爀椀昀椀挀攀猀 ⸀⸀⸀ 夀漀甀 洀甀猀琀 欀渀漀眀 漀昀 琀栀攀 ∀刀漀愀搀 倀爀漀琀攀挀琀椀漀渀∀ 洀漀瘀攀洀攀渀琀 琀漀眀愀爀搀 琀栀攀 攀渀搀 漀昀 琀栀攀 儀椀渀最 䐀礀渀愀猀琀礀⸀ 䤀琀 眀愀猀 眀栀攀渀 氀漀挀愀氀 椀渀琀攀爀攀猀琀猀 眀攀爀攀 挀漀洀瀀爀漀洀椀猀攀搀 椀渀 ㄀㤀㄀㄀ 嬀戀礀 愀 琀栀爀攀愀琀 戀礀 琀栀攀 挀攀渀琀爀愀氀 最漀瘀攀爀渀洀攀渀琀 琀漀 猀攀椀稀攀 氀漀挀愀氀氀礀 戀甀椀氀琀 爀愀椀氀爀漀愀搀 漀瀀攀爀愀琀椀漀渀猀崀 琀栀愀琀 愀渀 漀瀀瀀漀爀琀甀渀椀琀礀 昀漀爀 琀栀攀 刀攀瀀甀戀氀椀挀愀渀 刀攀瘀漀氀甀琀椀漀渀 琀漀 琀漀瀀瀀氀攀 琀栀攀 椀洀瀀攀爀椀愀氀 爀攀最椀洀攀 漀挀挀甀爀爀攀搀⸀ 嬀㠀崀㰀⼀䈀䰀伀䌀䬀儀唀伀吀䔀㸀

Nationally, the Three Gorges Dam is in danger of going down in history as an enormous money pit that does little more than unfairly enrich the power company allowed to operate this gigantic and gigantically expensive asset.

As a political matter, the Chinese government had best look to the heavens ... and pray for years of heavy rains that demonstrate the value of the TGD as a flood control mechanism, and wash away resentment of its many, expensive shortcomings.

Notes:
1. Amid severe drought, Chinese government admits mistakes with Three Gorges Dam, Washington Post, Jun 5, 2011.
2. Has the Three Gorges Dam created Chinese drought zone?, CNN, Jun 3, 2011.
3. China drought renews debate over Three Gorges Dam, MSNBC, Jun 3, 2011.
4. Disaster worries plague Three Gorges Dam, Global Times, May 24, 2011.
5. The great relocation that failed, Asia Times Online, Oct 13, 2010.
6. The Three Gorges: a wiser approach, China Dialogue, Oct 23, 2007.
7. Deposition and erosion in the fluctuating backwater reach, International Journal of Sediment Research, 25 (2010) 8. Dai Qing: Yangtze! Yangtze!, Earthscan Publications Ltd., London, 1994, pp. 169-170.

Peter Lee writes on East and South Asian affairs and their intersection with US foreign policy.