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Dams In China

Updated on October 22, 2011

Currently China is believed to have more than 80,000 dams- a fact that makes it the country with the greatest number of dams in the world.

Every river in the country possess a dam and the most amazing fact is that China reached to this point in a short time span of 40 years.

Today China is the largest investor of money when it comes to the building of dams and is set to execute much greater, larger and powerful dam projects in future.

It is impossible to quote the names of all the dams that are present in China, but the below given few dams are some of the relatively known and famous dams in China:

Liujiaxia Dam

The Liujiaxia hydroelectric dam is one of the largest in the world. This large hydroelectric dam was built in 1974 and is located on the upstream of the Great Yellow River of China’s province of Ghasu. 

Liujiaxia Dam
Liujiaxia Dam

To be more precise, both the dam and its hydroelectric facility are located on the Liujia Gorge of the three Gorges on the yellow river.

The dam gets its name from the Liujiaxia town nearby the site of the dam.

This concrete gravity dam is almost 47 m high and from the top is nearly 16 meters wide with a total length (including the auxiliary sections) is 840 m.

The basic purpose of the dam is to generate electricity and to provide water for irrigation. It is also used for controlling floods.

The Liujiaxia power plant has 5 generators that can have the capacity to generate 1,225 MW of electricity.

Geheyan Dam
Geheyan Dam
The Banqiao Dam after its failure.
The Banqiao Dam after its failure.

Geheyan Dam

The Geheyan Dam is an enormous hydroelectric dam situated on the Qingjiang River which is a tributary of the Yangtze River of Hubei.

This dam was constructed in 1987 and is designed to generate electricity and to control floods. It has the capacity to store 1240 MW of power which is generated in four units each of which is 310 MW of power.

The dam is also equipped with a ship lift. This ship lift is capable of carrying a load displacement of 300,000 kg. the dam helped storing the water after the 1998 Yangtze flooding.

Banqiao Dam

The Banqio reservoir dam is situated on the river Ru of the Zhumadian prefecture of China.

This dam was initially built in 1951 after the great flooding in the Huai River Basin during 1949 and 1950 with the help of a soviets consultant.

The dam was built with the intention of preventing floods and to store water for generating electricity.

The dam was made of clay and had a reservoir with the capacity of 492 million m³ in which 375 million m³ was reserved exclusively to store flood water.

The dam was almost 24.5 meters high and was built to resist a 1 in 1000 years flood but in 1975 a 1 in 2000 years flood hit the basin completely destroying the dam and causing a severe catastrophe.

After that for 11 years the dam remained closed, in 1986 the dam was rebuilt.

This time the dam was far well constructed than before with a greater capacity and resistivity.

The Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam

The Three Gorges Dam

The three gorges dam is the largest dam on this planet. This mighty structure is built on the Yangtze River and has a reservoir of more than 600 km. This dam has broken all the records and has set the standard for modern age dams.

But no matter how much appealing the concept of such a large reservoir sounds and despite of all the advantages it has this dam has been proved to be a model for disaster

The dam has caused a huge destruction to the environment and the conditions are expected to get worse. The weight of the reservoir has been worrying the scientists as they believe that this might cause a reservoir induced seismicity.

Despite of all the advantages of dams in the country, in China these dams have been the cause of serious catastrophes and natural disasters.

It has caused a serious damage to the natural environment and if China continues to build such dams it may lead to further disasters than any advantage.


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    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 6 years ago

      Very good information. Hydro-power is the current favorite world over, particularly due to global warming concerns. But it also takes ecological toll and environmental damage, especially in the mountainous regions like Himalayas. When large dams are situated over seismic faultlines, they can also trigger earthquakes. Hence, long term consequences must not be ignored for short term gains.

    • profile image 6 years ago

      What a fabulous topic. Very interesting.