In the IGCSE Geography Specification, you're meant to know a case study for a dam or reservoir project, and I learnt this, so...:
Case Study of a Dam or Reservoir Project: The Three Gorges Dam, Yangtze River, China (multi-purpose scheme)
Yangtze River: Intro Facts
· Source=Himalayas, flows into the East China Sea at Shanghai
· 3rd longest river in the world
· Floods regularly, unpredictable, prone to severe flooding (every 10 years on average)
· Last great flood-1998, an area the size of New Zealand was flooded
· US$30 billion worth of damage
· In the 20th century, over 300,000 people have been killed by the Yangtze floods
The Three Gorges Dam: A multi-purpose scheme
Main purpose: to prevent flooding downstream
· Generates HEP (hydro-electric power)
· Provides water to urban areas and to agriculture (irrigation)
· Will improve river transport upstream
Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Three Gorges Dam
Benefits/Advantages/Positive Effects (in order of importance according to me)
1. Control flooding downstream of the dam.
2. Provides water to urban areas and for agriculture-irrigation. (The reservoir can store up to 5 trillion gallons of water.
3. The HEP generated will provide 15% of China’s electricity demand.
a. This will decrease China’s dependency on coal and therefore reduce greenhouse gas emission.
4. Thousands of construction jobs were created during the building of the dam.
5. China will be able to bring 10,000 ton ocean going vessels all the way inland, 2000km up to the city of Chongqing.
6. The dam will become a tourist attraction and will attract a lot of people to the area. Many tertiary sector/service jobs will be created.
7. The electricity generated will help the economic development of cities such as Chongqing, population=3 million.
Costs/Disadvantages/Negative Effects (in order of importance according to me)
1. Several large towns upstream, such as Fuling (population=80,000) and Wanxian (population=140,000) will be flooded.
a. Ancient temples, burial grounds and other historic sites will be lost beneath the reservoir too.
2. Over 1.3 million people will have to be relocated.
3. Much of the land used for resettlement is over 800m above sea level, where the climate is colder and the soil can barely support farming.
4. The pressure created by the huge weight of the water in the reservoir behind the dam could trigger earthquakes. (But it is engineered to withstand an earthquake of 7.0 on the Richter scale.)
5. The untreated human and industrial waste will not be washed away downstream, but will stay and pollute the river instead.
6. Areas downstream will be deprived of fertile sediment.
7. It will divert money from other developments. It is currently one of the most expensive projects in the world, costing more than $26 billion, over their budget.
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