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Drought Stalls 3 Gorges Dam


Drought stalls China's Three Gorges dam
located in central China in basin along Yangtze, reservoir 410 miles long
world's largest hydroelectric project
cost $23 billion
China wants to drive budding economy with power
many towns have been demolished to build it
1.4 million people relocated
been trying to fill reservoir since 9/15, target deadline was this month
full = 574 feet; Nov 2 got it up to 561 feet then stopped rising
officials say inflow is too low
(I wonder if there's a leak? could be thru land, not dam)
drought is increasing, 34% less flow this year than last year
drought getting worse downstream in Hunan and Jiangxi provinces: need water

increased landslide risk
more anticipated as water reaches peak
saturation and fissures threaten (this supports my leak theory)
big city nearby at risk: Wanzhou district of Chongqing
some are saying this risk is another reason not to fill the dam (too quickly)
authorities deny that this is why it isn't full
fissures appearing in slopes, many people at risk
homes cracking


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 22nd, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
good solar, bad solar...
IF this dam were to fail, it would be used internationally as landmark AGAINST hydro-electric. Not wanting to hear of multiple deaths from an event like this. The Chinese govt. is a funny entity.

Maybe they will see that a million Chinese roofs with PV and solar hot water panels might be a better way to go. A more flexible, regionalized grid and they could sell their own products (solar infrastructure...) to their own country. Hmmmm, I wonder if the US is listening to this reasoning?
Nov. 23rd, 2009 12:03 am (UTC)
Re: good solar, bad solar...
Even tho I'm a river runner I am in favor of small/local hydro power. I am against power plants of this magnitude, however. It is foolhardy to think that we can just plug up the biggest rivers of the planet and not suffer surprises. And the power from big dams feeds big business. But if you have a creek in your back yard and want to run your lights off it, I say go ahead. All the other power options will also need to be employed----as suits by region and climate. Best thing we can each do, in my opinion, is get as free as possible from the grid early on. That way when it starts faltering harder, or failing, we'll be sitting pretty.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 02:01 am (UTC)
Re: good solar, bad solar...
run-of-the-river hydro projects probably have their place. It's a scale of magnitude. Usually designers are inclined to just block off the hole drainage, and then we get the whole Columbia/Colorado/Snake/Tennessee/Ohio rivers debacle that we have now.
I don't really see hydro, due to it's need for magnitude/isolation/portability issues, as a real viable need for the masses. Solar yes, wind to some extent, but hydro to me is limited.
If we were to put solar panels (both PV and hot water) on more roofs in the US, we could then transition away from fossil fuels slowly and on to other forms, which would provide us a safe amount of diversity and security.
But, like the health care battle, our singular opinions and our desire to be self centered in our thought, are a bit of a limitation for our nation. J.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 04:01 am (UTC)
Re: good solar, bad solar...
No single alternative source of power will continue to fuel the power usage that we have become accustomed to. Not solar, not wind, not geo, not hydro. As oil and coal and gas wane, we will be using every single option at our disposal at the same time, and still cutting way back. So be it.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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