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Last Phase Of China’s Three Gorges Dam Construction Is Underway: Environmental Case Study

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Innovative Teaching in Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.841.1 - 9.841.10



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Paper Authors

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Wafeek Wahby

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1451

Last Phase of China’s Three Gorges Dam Construction is Underway: Environmental Case Study

Wafeek Samuel Wahby, Ph.D., B.Th.

Professor, Industrial Technology Program Coordinator Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois


China’s Three Gorges Dam (TGD) provides excellent educational opportunities for environmental engineering educators as they discuss its various aspects with their students and engage them in analyzing its multi-faceted impact. Many individuals and agencies around the world are collecting data to help study the short- and long- term ecological and environmental effects of building the Three Gorges Dam. Other far- reaching effects of the project on areas such as energy, industry, business, culture, society and transportation are now starting to become a tangible reality rather than speculations. Time will show to what extent the fears and concerns that many are having were justified.


The largest project in the world, China’s Three Gorges Dam (TGD) – 1.44 miles (2.31 km) long and 620 ft (185 ms) high – is well into its third and final phase. Since Sunday, June 1, 2003, waters of the Yangtze River – third longest river in the world after the Nile and the Amazon – have been flowing through water diversion holes at the bottom of TGD in the portions completed during Phase I (1993-1997) and Phase II (1997-2003) of the project.

The gigantic concrete gravity dam officially began to store water in the 400 mile (640 km) long ribbon-like reservoir upstream of it, as the sluice gates of the dam started to be closed on schedule. Water level has been rising 4-6 ft (1.2-1.8 ms) each day, reaching 135 meters (433 feet) on June 10, 2003 and submerging numerous cities, towns, villages, arable lands, natural resources, and habitat of countless species.

At a special session convened in Beijing in September 2003 (, October 16, 2003), the Three Gorges Project Construction Committee (TGPCC) decided to raise the water level in the reservoir an additional four meters from the current level of 135 meters by October 30, 2003. The project’s policy-making body also decided at the meeting to fill the reservoir to 156 meters above sea level in 2005 -- one year earlier than planned. News of these unexpected revisions to the long-established project timetable has

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Wahby, W. (2004, June), Last Phase Of China’s Three Gorges Dam Construction Is Underway: Environmental Case Study Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13733

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