Yichang & Three Gorges Dam

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Yichang, Hubei, China
Yichang is a prefecture-level city (over 4-million people) located in western Hubei province. It is the second largest city in the province after the capital, Wuhan. The Three Gorges Dam is located within its administrative area, in Yiling District. We took a 1-hour bus ride to the dam.

The Three Gorges Dam is the world's largest dam (1 .3-miles wide and 610-feet high) and the power station has an installed capacity 22,500 MW. Except for a ship lift, the dam project was completed and fully functional as of July 4, 2012, when the last of the 32th main turbine in the underground plant began production. Each main turbine has a capacity of 700 MW.
As well as producing electricity, the dam is intended to increase the Yangtze River's shipping capacity and reduce the potential for floods downstream by providing flood storage space. The Yangtze River is currently experiencing a 60-year flood event and it has all 7 flood gates open for the first time. Now we know why we saw minor flooding downstream.

We also noticed that there was no ships going through the 5-step ship locks to get around the dam. We were told that because of the high water flow and swift water currents, all shipping and travel has been halted and will not resume for several days! 
We returned to our ship and a general meeting was held to let us know that due to the closure of the locks, we will have to make a "U-turn" and return back to Wuhan and catch an airplane to Xi'an from there.



Interesting. When was the last time we built a dam in the US?? Oh yeah...we are tearing them down. No Ruth...you can't bring it home.