Last town in China's Three Gorges reservoir area relocated ahead of rise in water level
U.S. Water News Online
BEIJING — Residents in the last township to be moved to make way for the rising waters of the Three Gorges Dam reservoir have been relocated, a state news agency reported.
The emptying of Gaoyang town of Hubei province, part of a larger relocation plan, began in August 2004 and was completed recently, Xinhua News Agency reported. The government has moved nearly 1,000 households in the area in preparation for the rising water.
More than 1.4 million people have been relocated to allow for the water to rise behind the massive dam, the largest hydroelectric project in the world. The dam, which has a 410-mile long reservoir, is supposed to end flooding along the Yangtze River and provide clean energy alternative to coal.
It is also expected to generate 84.7 billion kilowatts of electricity each year — the amount of energy needed to light the counties of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento.
The water level in the reservoir was scheduled to reach its full height of 574 feet sometime next year, although the effects of silting and the area's mountainous geography have prompted doubts about the exact level.
The $22 billion project has also raised ecological concerns, with residents in the area complaining about cracks in their walls, warped foundations and fissures snaking along the earth.
Pollution in the once fast-running river is building in the turbid reservoir. Landslides - common in the rainy region — are occurring more frequently. One in April in the Gaoyang area inundated homes and a primary school with rocks and mud.
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