|Flood water discharged from the Three Gorges Dam, July 22, 2013. (Xinhua)|
Two decades in construction, the Three Gorges Project has operated successfully for ten years. Since its beginnings, this large-scale project has triggered much controversy.
Turning to the experts, we have paid visits to the Three Gorges Dam, the reservoir, and many places in the lower reaches of the river, to seek explanations on issues related to the Three Gorges.
Issue 1: Will the dam be buried by silt?
It is planned to maintain a storage capacity of 200 million cubic meters for 100 years
Statement: Sedimentation is one of the most important problems of the Three Gorges Project
Investigation: The Three Gorges reservoir applies the principle of "storing clear water and discharging muddy water" – more specifically, increasing the discharge of muddy water in the flood season, and storing clear water in dry season. Recent studies show that the amount of silt flowing into the Three Gorges reservoir is declining.
Expert's view: Shen Guofang, a project expert, thinks that the implementation of soil and water conservation projects and the building of reservoirs in the upper reaches are beneficial. He is of the view that the Three Gorges reservoir can maintain a storage capacity of 200 million cubic meters for 100 years.
Issue 2: The reservoir is causing geological incidents
Geological incidents decreased rapidly after the first year's operation
Question: The Three Gorges area has been subject to regular geological incidents since ancient times. According to records, more than ten major landslides happened in the past. What has been the geological situation since the commissioning of the Three Gorges Project?
Investigation: Statistics show that from September 2008 to August 31, 2012, there have been a total of 401 geological incidents in the Three Gorges reservoir area, of which 83 percent took place in 2008.
Subsequently, the reservoir area gradually achieved stability, and the number of geological incidents decreased rapidly.
The reservoir area has maintained a zero casualty record since 2008.
Expert's view: Chen Houqun, a senior engineer of the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower, explains that the hidden and sudden nature of geological incidents make them difficult to foresee or predict. At the same time, with the progress of urbanization in recent years, the risks caused by land development and construction cannot be ignored. We should direct constant attention to the prevention of geological disasters.