China completed construction of the world's largest dam on Saturday in Three
Gorges area, central China's Hubei Province, signifying a milestone
accomplishment of major structure of the mammoth Three Gorges water control
project that aims to tame the flood-prone Yangtze River, the nation's longest.
At 2:00 on Saturday afternoon, as the final concrete was poured for main wall
of the Three Gorges Dam, hurrah broke out and six workers were tossing over head
by their fellows on the worksite before a brief celebration ceremony was held.
The concrete placement of the Dam's main section was completed 10 months
ahead of schedule, which will enable the Dam to start its role in power
generation, flood control and shipping improvement in 2008, one year ahead of
After the cofferdam is demolished on June 6, the dam's main wall, often
compared to the Great Wall in its scale, will formally begin to hold water,
protecting 15 million people and 1.5 million hectares of farm land downstream
from floodings, which had haunted the Yangtze River valley for thousands of
years. Upon the demolition, a new landscape featuring a reservoir with a serene
water surface behind the spectacular dam will gradually come into being along
with planned rises of the water level.
The Three Gorges, which consist of Qutang, Wuxia and Xiling Gorges, extend
for about 200 km on the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze. They have
become a popular world-class tourist destination noted for beautiful natural
landscapes and a great number of historical and cultural relics. This section of
the Yangtze has a narrow river course which is inconvenient for shipping but
boasts abundant hydroelectric resources.
Pu Haiqing, deputy director of the State Council Three Gorges Project
Construction Committee, said the project manifests that a dream comes true and
the philosophical thinking and wisdom of the Chinese people in following the law
of nature and making use of it for the benefits of the people.
He said the completion of the dam of Three Gorges Project marks a phased
victory, for there remains great deal of work ahead, including resettlement and
As China's longest and the world's third longest, the Yangtze River, together
with the Yellow River, nurtured the Chinese civilization. However, its floodings
have since long threatened lives and properties of residents along its valley.
The latest deluge happened in 1998, which claimed about 1,000 lives and incurred
approximately 100 billion yuan (12.5 billion U.S.dollars) in economic losses.
The Three Gorges project was initially envisaged in 1918 by Sun Yat-sen, the
forerunner of China's democratic revolution. It had undergone protracted debates
and researches for around half a century before it was finally approved in 1992
by the National People's Congress, China's top legislature. It is schemed to
function in flood control, to generate clean energy and to benefit shipping,
with flood control as its major effect. Upon completion in 2008, one year ahead
of the schedule, the project will help the middle and lower reaches of the
Yangtze River valley to withstand deluges that can be seen every 100 years.
The project, the world's largest water control project, recruited 26,000
people, including professionals and specialists from 50-odd countries and
regions, at the peak of its construction. On the basis of absorption of foreign
advanced technologies, the project has set 100-plus world records.
The project, the world's largest hydroelectric project, boasts a total
electricity generating capacity of 22.4 million kilowatt, an equivalent of the
energy produced by a coal mine with an annual production capacity of 50 million
tons or by an oilfield with an annual production capacity of 25 million tons of
The project's main dam, which is 2,309 meters long and 185 meters high above
sea level, involves concrete placement of 16 million cubic meters, smashing the
12.57-million-cu-m record set by the Itaipu Hydropower Station on the border of
Brazil and Paraguay.
Swiss engineer Hans Grolimund said, "It seems that the experience I gained
over the past 25 years was just for the Three Gorges Dam. I've reached the
climax of my career since I took part in the project."
The engineer serves as the chief site representative of the France-based
Alstom Power for the Three Gorges Project.
More than 1 million people have been moved to pave way for the project, and
most of them have been resettled, having brought a miracle in the world's
history of migration.
Zhao Baolian, a 42-years-old migrant, had been an orange grower living on
Zhongbao Island before it disappeared from map and becomes part of the dam base.
She said when she saw the first bulldozer came near her home, she hurried to
take last pictures of her home.
Now engaged in selling Three Gorges souvenirs, Zhao said,"I feel affectionate
to the huge Dam, as I've seen how it was built day after day. However, I still
want my grandson to learn it by heart that there was an island named Zhongbao
under the Dam, as it used to be our home."
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