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Jan. 27, 2021, 9:51 p.m. by David Hilton ( 578 views)

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The ‘Three Gorges Dam’ is one of the largest and most ambitious infrastructure projects undertaken in all of world history. The dam built over the Yangtzee River in China is the world's largest power station in terms of installed capacity (22,500 MW) since 2012. The project is seen as more than just a dam or hydel-power plant by the ruling Communist Party. To the ruling establishment, this is an attempt to massively leverage increased irrigation, shipping, power generation opportunities from essentially controlling the powerful Yangtzee river. Essentially this is China’s answer to U.S.A’s Hoover Dam. It is China’s attempt to show the world that it has achieved the highest pinnacle of civilization, by controlling the most substantial force of nature within its borders.

Three Gorges Dam|karuwakispeaks

Caption: Arial View of the Three Gorges Dam

According to official Chinese State narratives the benefits of the dam are to generate large scale power to feed domestic demand, develop river logistics, create new river port cities along with this network, improve irrigation, control floods during the monsoon season. The dam is seen by the Chinese Government and its people as a beacon of renewable energy and master-piece of Chinese engineering.

However, this rather optimistic view may be clouded in propaganda as reports from the ground and scientific data seem to point otherwise. Firstly the dam spanning 1.4 miles long has been under full-scale construction since the mid 1900s and till this day has modifications and on-going work to complete features. The massive economic cost of building this infrastructure withstanding a reported 100-200 workers have died during the building of this project. These are only official estimates and other reports suggest this number is substantially more. This can be attributed to sub-par safety and working conditions at the expense of getting the project ready in time. The larger humanitarian crisis is however in the massive number of people who had to be displaced from their villages as a result of the dam.

Three Gorges Dam|karuwakispeaks

Caption: Displaced Citizens speak about their problems

People who formerly had their livelihood based on farming and fishing around the Yangtzee river had to be displaced to cities and provinces far off from their original villages. Citizens on the condition of anonymity spoke to foreign journalists and explained how they are living in extreme poverty solely dependent on a meager Chinese government pension. They were not compensated for the loss of land and property and simply offered alternate housing of much poorer quality with no means of livelihood post-relocation. Moreover for the habitations along the river that did manage to survive life has never returned to normal. The entire river eco-system has been destroyed and fish that were earlier plentiful have to be caught with strict government quotas on catch numbers. Moreover, due to the now much slower flow of the river, experts feel the natural recycling process of toxins within this ecosystem has been disrupted. Pollutants and waste now flow at a much slower, almost stagnant pace and have in turn increased river pollution levels.

Three Gorges Dam|karuwakispeaks

Caption: Expert warning about rising pollution levels on Yangtzee

The real cause of worry though is to what extent can be the construction of the dam be trusted in containing one of the world's mightiest rivers, the Yangtzee. Every monsoon season the dam has seen new flood levels been breached. Indeed the cycle of floods and droughts caused as a result of the disrupted river flow has only gotten more severe over the years. Many people believed the dam was close to being breached during the record floods in the summer of 2020.

Three Gorges Dam|karuwakispeaks

Caption: Supposed part of the dam under structural stress

This was compounded by supposed aerial views of the dam showing ‘structural bending’ or distortion of the dam. These pictures were immediately censored by the Chinese government and researchers have been banned from writing on the matter. It also issued a statement along the lines of distortions being present in the structure but these being nowhere near the official limits. This rather vague reply by the authorities didn’t do much to placate viewers. Now there is a rather extensive community online of people posting what they feel from primary (satellite, weather data) and secondary (eyewitness accounts) indicate serious structural flaws that may lead to a breach or even total collapse of the structure.

Three Gorges Dam|karuwakispeaks

Caption: Chinese research simulation of the collapse

The Chinese government has further censored a simulation by an independent researcher (or by some claims internal government official) showing the simulation when the dam collapses. In this extensive simulation, a number of cities including now-infamous Wuhan are seen to be submerged and rendered inhabitable as a result. A supposed external audit of the dam whilst it was being constructed already pointed at serious structural issues such as poor quality of steel-welding for the support bases. Since the construction was already substantially underway the Chinese government decided to go ahead with the project rather than undo the work carried out thus far. Another technical issue highlighted recently is the fact that the concrete blocks composing the dam have no strong attachment to the river bedrock. Indeed they are somewhat loosely placed on it and may not be able to withstand flood pressure after a threshold point.

Ultimately the collapse of the Three Gorges Dam has been a much talked about topic among political and economic analysts concerned with the region. A collapse of this structure could be a ‘black swan’ event that has serious consequences for the entire world economy and may even change the course of humanity. One can only hope that the quality checks assured by the Chinese government have indeed been carried out and no compromises made to this dam that could in some way hold the key to Earth’s destiny.

- David Hilton

-He is a Bachelors (Hons) in History and Religious Studies.

-He currently works as a vertical lead for Advertising and Marketing firm in the U.K. Outside of work he still maintains a keen interest in history and current affairs

-Alternative History and Modern Geo-Political trends are his two main research interests.

-Besides this he is also passionate about brand management and increasing engagement with digital audiences.

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