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Three Gorges project rated good in review

By WANG KEJU | China Daily | Updated: 2020-11-02 08:57
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The Three Gorges Dam and its power-generating units on its south bank on the Yangtze River in Yichang, Hubei province, on Sunday. LIN MU/FOR CHINA DAILY

Dam fulfills key roles in flood control, electricity generation and shipping

The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in Hubei province has operated smoothly and stably and given full play to its flood control, electricity generation and shipping functions, authorities said on Sunday.

A review of the dam's operation released by the Ministry of Water Resources and the National Development and Reform Commission said it had met design requirements, with a good overall performance.

The gigantic dam is the world's biggest water conservancy project and is also a hydropower project with widespread benefits. Its main facilities for flood drainage, water diversion and power generation, among others, are running safely and are in good condition, the review said.

Construction of the multifunctional water-control system-with its 2,309-meter-long and 185-meter-high dam, five-tier ship lock and 34 hydropower turbogenerators-began in 1994.

By the end of August, the dam had held back 180 billion cubic meters of water during flood seasons. It saw inflows of over 70,000 cubic meters per second in 2010,2012 and this year and reduced flood peaks by about 40 percent, the review said, greatly easing flood-control pressure in downstream rice-growing areas.

During dry seasons, discharges have been raised to more than 5,500 cubic meters per second, providing more than 20 billion cubic meters of water a year for the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.

By the end of August, the reservoir had provided replenishment for 2,267 days, with a total water supply of 289.4 billion cubic meters, optimizing production, living conditions and the ecology of the river's middle and lower reaches, the review said.

The world's largest hydropower station, the dam had generated over 1.35 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity by August, contributing to electricity supply in Central and East China and in Guangdong province.

It also serves as a major clean energy production base and boosts energy conservation and emissions reduction. Electricity produced by the power station was equivalent to that from burning 430 million metric tons of standard coal, leading to a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

The project has also significantly improved navigation conditions and bolstered shipping capacity and freight volume in the Yangtze, the review said. By August, some 1.48 billion tons of cargo had passed through the Three Gorges Dam, boosting development in the Yangtze's economic belt.

The production and living environments of the 1.31 million people who were relocated to make way for the Three Gorges project have been greatly improved, and infrastructure and public service facilities in the reservoir area have developed rapidly, it said.

The geological environment of the resettlement area is safe, and the ecology of the reservoir area is in good condition, the review said.

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