You are on page 1of 16


China Yangtze Three Gorges Project (TGP), as one of the biggest hydropower-complex
project in the world, ranks as the key project for improvement and development of
Yangtze River.
The dam is located in the areas of Xilingxia gorge, one of the three gorges of the river,
which will control a drainage area of 1 million km², with an average annual runoff of 451
billion m3 .The open valley at the dam site, with hard and complete granite as the bedrock,
has provided the favorable topographical and geological conditions for dam construction.

Picture 1: Location of the Dam

• In 1918, Mr. Sun Yat-Sen suggested, in his book Strategy for State, Part II:
Industrial Plans, a scheme to “improve the upstream from here”, that is, “a dam
should be set here to let ships go downstream and use the water resource as

• In May 1945, Dr. John Lucian Savage, a famous American expert in dam
construction arrived in Three Gorges and put forward his Preliminary Report on
Development Plans of Three Gorges .

• In Feb 1950, Changjiang Water Resource Commission, a special governmental
organization, was founded for the comprehensive management of the Yangtze

• In 1955, a comprehensive planning of Yangtze River drainage area and
investigation, research and design of Three Gorges project started, and most of the
job concluded in 1957.

• In 26 Dec 1970, Gezhouba project was approved for construction, which started
power generation in 1981, and totally completed in 1989, which can be seen as a
test for the future Three Gorges project.
• In Feb 1982, Qian Zhengying communicated the instructions from the central
government that TGP be listed in the recent national plan. And on 24, Nov, Deng
Xiaoping, the former leader of China talked of the future Three Gorges Project in
a meeting that “I myself prefer to the lower dam scheme. Be determined once be
assured, do not hesitate”.
Figure 2: The Power Generation

• In Feb- March 1989, the Leading Group for Three Gorges Project Argumentation
reviewed and approved the revised Feasibility Report of Three Gorges Project
with normal storage level of 175 m, which indicates that the re-argumentation of
the project concluded.

• On 3 rd April 1992, The Resolution to Construction of Three Gorges Project was
adopted at the 5th meeting of the Seventh People's Congress, which indicates that
the project entered in to the executive process from legislative process.

• On 3 January 1993, the State Council TGP Construction Committee was founded,
which would include an executive office, a migrant relocation development
bureau and the future China Yangtze Three Gorges Development Corporation
Figure 3: During Construction Phase

• On 2 April 1993, the State Council TGP Construction Committee defined the
project management system and financing sources and approved the Regulations
for TGP Migrant Relocation at the first meeting.

• On 29 July 1993, the State Council TGP Construction Committee approved the
Report of Preliminary Design of the Three Gorges Project forwarded by
Changjiang Water Resource Commission the second committee meeting, which
indicates the project entered into the overall preparation stage for construction.
• On 27 Sept 1993, China Yangtze Three Gorges Development Corporation
(CTGPC) was, under the authorization of the State Council, founded in Yichang,
Hubei province.
• On 14 Dec 1994, the Three Gorges project was officially started.

Figure 4: During Construction Phase Project

• On 8 Nov 1997, the river close-off succeeded, which indicates the construction
target of phase I was completed.
• On 6 Nov 2002, the close-off of diversion channel succeeded.
• On 1st June 2003, the reservoir began its storage, the water reached at 135m on 10
June and at 139m on 5 November.
Figure 5: The Completion of the Project

• On 16 June 2003, the trial navigation of ship lock succeeded. On 18 June 2003,
the ship lock started to be open to all sorts of ships.
• On 10 July 2003, the first generator unit began generating and connected to power
• On 8 July 2004, the double-way and five-step ship lock passed acceptance by an
official group (water level between 135-139m).

• On 25 April 2005, the 12th generator unit began generating. Till 30 June 2005,
Three Gorges power plant produced totally 68.1 billion kW· h, which wields a
powerful function to relieve the pressure of national electricity gap, and a big
promotion to the shape of national interconnection with trans-regional
• At 8:00 am 8 Sept 2004, Three Gorges project experienced a flood of 60500m³/s,
the third largest autumn flood in Ynagtze history. This is the first time the project
demonstrates its function of flood control by using modernized water regime
forecast and monitoring means and scientific reservoir dispatching method, which
succeeded withholding a flood of 0.5 billion m³ in the reservoir while assuring the
project safety, normal construction and power generating.

Figure 6: The way for Ships

• Till 31 December 2004, the ship lock had totally 13105 operations, with 101.1
thousand ships, 2.808 million of passengers and 48.076 million tons of goods
passing through. Ever since it was built, the ship lock has run well without major
failures and satisfied met the navigation requirement of the Yangtze navigation
with cargo increased by 2/3 compared to maximum level in the history.

Figure 7: Different Works at the Site Construction
• Since the TGP was launched a decade ago, a few world records in hydropower
construction were created, and a series of technology breakthrough were
achieved, thanks to the continuous practice in science & technology renovation.
They are outlined as follows:

 River Close-off and Cofferdam in Deep Water

TGP river close-off was conducted on the main channel and the diversion
channel, the difficulty is hardly seen in other water conservancy projects. The
successful river close-offs on 11 November 1997 and 6 November 2002 mark
that China's river close-off technology ranks among the top ones in the world.

 Concrete Placement on the TGP Dam

High Slopes outside the Three Gorges Ship lock and Metal


The double-way and five-step ship lock is characterized by the biggest

water head, the most successive steps, the deepest excavation and the

highest concreted side slope, and the highest and heaviest miter gate in

the world.

 The Design, Manufacture and Installation of the Generator Units

The TGP generator units have the features of large quantity, big
capacity, big water head change. Due to their extremely important role
in the power grid system, CTGPC has to ensure stability and efficiency
of the turbines under high water head, and meanwhile, to take into
account the operation performance under low water head.

The installed capacity of one TGP unit is 700 MW, biggest in the world.
Since the rated water head of TGP units is relatively low, the generators
are designed to have maximum capacity of 840 M.VA. Therefore, the
overall indices of TGP units set new world records.
• China Three Gorges Project Corporation (CTGPC) was, under the authorization
of the State Council, founded in Yichang, Hubei province on 27 Sept 1993.
• As the legal entity for TGP, CTGPC takes full responsibility for the financing,
construction and operation of Three Gorges project. Gezhouba Hydropower Plant,
with a capacity of 2715 MW, was incorporated as part of CTGPC in June 1996.
Furthermore, CTGPC was granted as a state authorized investment institution,
which has an extensive legal right to use the state capital.
Figure 8: The Channel flows Through the Dam

• Holding the mission of “Construction Constructing of the Three Gorges Project
and Development Developing of the Yangtze Resources River”, CTGPC will take
the Yangtze as centerline, take water as basic resources, and take electrical power
as major product. It will gradually grow into a world-class modern conglomerate
with major business operation in developing and operating gigantic hydropower
resources. And by providing green environmental -friendly energy to the society,
it will play leading role in concerting the comprehensive benefits of the Yangtze
give priority to development and management of Yangtze River water resources
and provide clean energy and aim to rank as a leading company in hydropower
field and to play an important role in national economy.

• After the completion of TGP, CTGPC will hold an annual capacity of 21,000 MW
and annual output of 100 billion kW·h. At present, CTGPC began its work at four
cascade hydropower plants, i.e., Xiluodu, Xiangjiaba, Baihetan, Wudongde, on
Jinshajiang, a part of upstream of Yangtze River. The four power plants will be
installed with a capacity of 38,000 MW, twice of that of Three Gorges project.

• In Sept 2002, CTGPC, as the initiator, established its sub company, China
Yangtze Power Co., Ltd. (CYPC), which was assigned to manages the two
hydropower plants CTGPC has, i.e., Gezhouba and Three Gorges hydropower
plants. It began to be listed in Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) as Yangtze Power
Stock on 18 Nov 2003.

• CTGPC also founded its non-banking financial company, Three Gorges Financial
Company, and other eight companies, and then formed a multi-operation business
pattern with tourism, project consultant and supervision, power technology,
property management, etc as core activities.
• CTGPC has the general manager responsible for company management, and at
present, GM is Mr. Li Yongan. Also a technical commission takes charge of the
research and review of key technical issues. Now CTGPC has two academicians
of China Academy of Engineering, they are the former general manager Mr. Lu
Youmei and the present chief engineer Mr. Zhang Chaoran.

• Three Gorges project started its preparation in 1993 and began construction in
1994, and now has passed ten years smoothly. In that period, all the people
involved in the project devoted to their task and made great success in the
reservoir impoundment, navigation and power generating. A blue print finally
comes into reality now, and the project begins generating benefits. Now the
project enters a new stage that includes construction, power generating and
reservoir operating. Also the owner of the project, CTGPC enters a new period of
sustainable development.

• CTGPC persists on the scientific viewpoint of development, which means to
develop in an all-round, harmonious and sustainable manner and able to make
continuously progress, will continue its great efforts in construction of Three
Gorges project with a high quality and in an efficient way.

• Although the TGP Reservoir is not the reservoir with the biggest capacity in the
world, its reserved flood control capacity can help cut flood peak by 27,000 to
33,000 m³/s, the biggest for a water conservancy project in the world.

• When the TGP is completed, the flood control standard of the middle and lower
reaches of the Yangtze, especially the Jingjiang Section, will be largely upgraded
from the present level of preventing under-10-year floods to that of preventing
100-year floods. So 15 million people and 1.5 million hectares of farmland in the
Jianghan Plain are relieved from flood threats, and devastating plagues of massive
death caused by big floods are avoided.

Floods records of Yangtze River (1931, 1935, 1949, 1954, and 1998)

• 1931
The flood in 1931 struck an area of 130,000 km2 with 3.39 million ha
farmland and 1.8 million houses inundated, 28.55 million people affected, and
145,000 people killed, causing approximately an economic loss of 1.345
billion YinYuan.

• 1935
The flood in 1935 hit an area of 89,000 km2 in the middle and lower reaches
of the Yangtze River, with six provinces, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui,
Jiangsu, Zhejiang and 10 million people affected, 1.51 million ha of farmland
inundated, 142,000 people killed, causing approximately an economic loss of
0.355 billion YinYuan.
• 1949
The flood in 1949 inundated 1.81 million ha farmland, affected 8.1 million
people and cost the lives of 5699 people in the middle and lower reaches of the
Yangtze River.

• 1954
The damages caused by the flood in 1954 in the middle and lower reaches:
totally 3.18 million ha farmland and 4.27 million houses inundated, 18.884
million people and 123 counties and cities affected, 33169 people killed and
the interruption of the Beijing-Guangzhou Railway for 100 days.

• 1998
The flood in 1998 struck a large area of the Yangtze Valley. The country went
all out to fight against the flood for nearly 3 months with large quantities of
people and materials employed. More than RMB 13 billion worth of flood-
fighting materials were dispatched from all around the country, and about 6.7
million people and hundred thousands of soldiers took part in the fighting.
However, the flood still caused great losses with 239,000 ha farmland
inundated, 2.316 million people affected and 1526 people killed in the four
provinces of Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi and Anhui.
Figure 10: Sky view of the dam.

Related Interests