Yangtze three gorges dam, china
Work has started on what is claimed by China to be the world's largest civil engineering project – the Yangtze River's Three Gorges Dam. When completed in the year 2009 at an estimated cost of $26 billion the dam will be 176 m high, 2.4 km long and will produce 85 billion kwh of electricity, more than 10% of China's annual consumption, for the benefit of the 200 million inhabitants of the Yangtze River basin. A series of locks will enable ships to negotiate the dam as well as two ship elevators. To construct the dam some 1.3 million people from 300 towns and villages will be relocated. The reservoir formed behind the dam will be nearly 640 km long and stretch upstream as far as Chungking, China's largest city with a population of 15 million and 4000 km from the coast, which will eventually be reached for the first time by oceangoing ships of 10 000 tonnes. The dam will also mitigate flooding in the Yangtze where in 1954 33 000 people were drowned in one of China's catastrophic floods. China has also experienced dam collapse due to flooding, the worst being the Banqiao and the Shimantan on the Huai River in Henan province in 1975 when 230 000 people lost their lives.