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Three Gorges Dam in China on the Yangtze River

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Three Gorges Dam in China on the Yangtze River - Entering the Lock on the Dam
Viking Century Star River Cruise Ship Enters the Lock at the Three Gorges Dam in China

Viking Century Star River Cruise Ship Enters the Lock at the Three Gorges Dam in China

Three Gorges Dam Picture (c) Linda Garrison
The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in China is one of the largest engineering projects ever undertaken. When the dam is complete in 2009, it will be the world's largest dam at 600 feet tall and 1.4 miles long. The lake behind the dam will be 400 miles long. The Three Gorges Dam will protect millions of Chinese citizens from the annual floods that have caused havoc and many deaths over the centuries. Its 26 generators will also produce over one tenth of China's annual electric power needs.

Construction on the Three Gorges Dam was begun in 1994. It is located in the last of the famous Three Gorges of the Yangtze. Although the Three Gorges Dam will have many benefits, its construction also resulted in the relocation of over 1.3 million inhabitants, destruction of rich farmland and historical sites, and the loss of several rare and endangered animal species such as the Chinese sturgeon, Yangzi alligator, and the Yangzi river dolphin. Chinese experts also are concerned about the fate of the Yangtze with all the sewage from cities along the river being discharged into the new lake. The Yangtze also has a high sediment level, and this sediment mixed with the cities' sewage could disrupt the dam's generators.

I cruised the Yangtze River from Chongqing to the Three Gorges Dam in 2004 on a Viking River Cruises cruise tour of China. It was an amazing voyage, and we were fascinated to see the markers on the river showing where the water levels will be in 2009.

In this first picture, our ship the Viking Century Star enters one of the four locks across the Three Gorges Dam.

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