Three Gorges Project
Three Gorges Project has been running safe and sound for 17 years by the year of 2020, thanks to steady dam operation and continued efficiency and safe operation of the double-way five-step ship locks. Over the period, comprehensive benefits regarding flood control, navigation, power generation and water resource utilization were delivered.
Flood Control and Water Replenishment
As a key part of the flood control system in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the Three Gorges Project controls 96 percent of the inflow to Jingjiang, the most dangerous river section during floods, and over two-thirds of the inflow to Wuhan.
The Three Gorges Reservoir has retained an accumulative total of 153.3 billion cubic meters of flood water inflow from 2003 to 2019 and plays an indispensable role in mitigating the floods and in reducing the massive floods in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.
According to the estimates of Chinese Academy of Engineering, the Three Gorges Project’s annual anti-flood benefits alone amount to 8.8 billion yuan.
During the dry season, the reservoir will replenish to the downstream. Its average discharge during September and October stayed far above the minimum standard approved by the State government, while meeting the demand of water for households and industries in downstream areas.
Improving Shipping Conditions
The massive project has also played a significant role in improving navigation conditions and increasing shipping capacity in China’s Yangtze River. Since the Three Gorges Reservoir started impounding in 2003, cargo transport cond ition has significantly improved. At the same time, the transportation costs have been greatly lowered as the average energy consumption of ships reduced to a third of what it was prior to the Three Gorges Project.
The Three Gorges Dam commissioned a double-way five-step ship lock in 2003, which has since operated for 17 years consecutively by 2020. It has handled 875,300 ships and shipped 1.47 billion tons of freight. Total freight cargo volume for 2019 was 146 million tons, 46 percent above the design capacity and 8 times more than the maximum freight capacity at the river section before the impoundment of Three Gorges Reservoir.
The Three Gorges ship lift launched trial navigation on September 18, 2016. By June 2020, the ship lift has handled 10,000 ships with 360,000 passengers, cutting down the time it takes to pass the dam to around 40 minutes.
Providing Clean Energy
In addition, the Three Gorges Project generates green power, providing valuable benefits to regional development. Since the first power unit was connected to the grid in 2003, the Three Gorges power plant has generated a total of 1.3 trillion kWh of electricity, giving a boost to China’s high-quality development with a steady stream of green energy.
Through joint operation of the cascade reservoirs, optimal regulation of medium/small floods and elimination of floating debris for good water head, more electricity was generated.
Water quality conditions in the mainstream and tributaries in the reservoir area remain sound in the first half of 2020, as monitored by mainstream sections. In addition, the floating debris were cleared before reaching the dam and hauled out for harmless disposal.
In 2019, Three Gorges Project conducted environmental dispatching tests, during which the four major Chinese carps laid more than 1 billion eggs in the Yidu section of the Yangtze River.