Name ____________________________________________ Core __________________ Date ________________________
The Three Gorges Dam
incompatible. To generate power, the dam’s operators
might keep the reservoir at higher levels, which may
interfere with flood-control operations. Opponents also
argue that it may generate a great deal of silt. Finally,
they claim China has a poor record of safety in
building dams. Two dams collapsed on the Huai River
in 1975, leading to the deaths of between 30,000 and
100,000 people. The Three Gorges Dam however, has
been built to higher standards.
The dam is also taking a toll on China's
animals and plants. China is home to 10 percent of the
world's vascular plants (those with stems, roots and
The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangzi River is
China’s largest construction project since the Great
Wall. Planning for the new dam began in the early
1990s. It cost 25 billion dollars, created a reservoir 390
miles long and was completed 2009. The dam spans
1.44 miles, stands nearly 600 feet high, and has 32
supersized generators. Its hydroelectric power will
generate more than 18,000 megawatts of clean power
which will be distributed to users throughout densely
populated central China.
The dam is engineered to control the flooding
on the Yangzi River and to enhance navigation. It also
will allow for better irrigation of farmland. There has
been much opposition to the project within China and
abroad. About 1.3 million people were removed from
their homes because the water filling the reservoir is
flooding not just villages but entire cities. Eight
thousand cultural sites are now submerged.
Supporters see it as a key source of
hydroelectricity for the industrializing nation. They
believe it will stop the flooding of the Yangzi that has
claimed more than 1 million lives over the past
century. Some critics say that the project is
leaves) and biologists estimate that half of China's
animal and plant species, including the beloved giant
panda and the Chinese sturgeon, have been affected by
the Three Gorges Dam.
Biodiversity has been threatened as the dam
floods some habitats, reduces water flow to others, and
alters weather patterns. Economic development has
spurred deforestation and pollution in surrounding
provinces in central China, endangering at least 57
plant species, including the Chinese Dove Tree and the
Dawn Redwood. The reservoir created by Three
Gorges Dam threatens to flood the habitats of over 400
species of plants and animals.
China still draws 82 percent of energy from
coal, but large dams are crucial to the country's climate
change program, which aims to increase its proportion
of electricity from renewable resources from the
current 7.2 percent to 15 percent by 2020. Over one
third of that will come from hydropower—more than
from any other source. Twelve new dams are planned
for the upper Yangzi alone. The logistical and
environmental hurdles involved in executing these
dams underscore China's commitment to hydropower.
Name __________________________________________ Core ________________ Date _________________________
Multiple Choice: Circle the letter of the choice the best completes the statement. (2 points each)
1) The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangzi River is
b) 10,000 and 70,000
China’s largest construction project since…
c) 25,000 and 50,000
a) The Nechung Monastery
d) 1,000 and 10,000
b) The Forbidden City
4) The reservoir created by Three Gorges Dam
c) The Great Wall
threatens to flood the habitats of over how many
d) The Yu Garden
species of plants and animals?
2) How many cultural sites are now submerged
a) 200
because of the Three Gorges Dam?
b) 300
a) Eight Thousand
c) 400
b) Six Thousand
d) 500
c) Four Thousand
d) Two Thousand
5) China still draws how much of its energy from
coal?
3) Two dams collapsed on the Huai River in 1975,
a) 43%
leading to the deaths of between how many
b) 66%
people?
c) 73%
a) 30,000 and 100,000
d) 82%
Directions: In the space below explain what are the costs and benefits of the Three Gorges Dam and who is affected
by the decisions made? (5 points)
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