Three Gorges Dam Sustainability Development Essay


The government of China has been more focused on the development of the country by constructing various public infrastructures. Recently, the Chinese government has focused on constructing the Three Gorges Dam on Changjiang (Yangtze) river in Central China. This is a good economic development but at the same time, it has caused some socio-economic and conservation challenges. Actually, the construction of this dam leads to flooding of about one hundred towns and villages forcing a lot of people about 1.9 million people to relocate (Gleick, 2011). One of the challenges caused is the relocation of people to areas not affected by flooding. Relocating 1.9 million population of people was a big challenge the led to dispersing communities and families into different areas since some were relocated to newly constructed villages while others were relocated to urban areas. This resettlement of people caused the government a lot of money (Gleick, 2011). Another challenge caused is the increased rate of unemployment that resulted from the flooding. People lost their businesses when flooding occurred. While to some, their places of work were destroyed by flood leaving them unemployed. Initially, the river was rich with diverse fish species of 361 different fish species. The construction of the dam also led to the reduction of the population of these fish species leaving also 57% aquatic plant species endangered (Gleick, 2011). The construction activities of the dam also have led to water pollution in the river. The materials used in constructing the river have led to significant pollution of the river which in return has affected the aquatic species in the river (Gleick, 2011). The situation above is contradicting to the sustainable development agenda. In the current generation, the world is geared towards sustainable development. It is important to take into consideration sustainable development in every activity. With these challenges caused by the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, I will develop a strategy to address these challenges in order to achieve sustainable development.


Strategy to mitigate displacement and resettlement of the local people

To avoid local people behind the levees prone to flooding from further displacement and challenges of relocation, there are a number of actions that need to be taken. The risk of flooding has to be reduced through the following ways:

  1. To avoid being homeless, those people living in flood-prone areas are subjected to be part of the National Flood Insurance Program. This is to mean that those communities living in the Special Flood Hazard Areas should be subjected educated and informed about the need for taking insurance (Johnson & Priest, 2008). In essence, these communities should be subjected to mandatory insurance purchase as well as special land-use requirements entailing a strict requirement of constructing a building of a minimum of first-floor elevations. The insurance will help to avoid the problems of relocation as the insurance will cover the cost and sort the displaced people. The restriction of constructions will help to avoid further damages.
  2. Those living behind the levees or flood-prone areas should use waterproof coating in the exterior walls of their buildings.
  3. Make sure that sump pump as well as the foundation drain system is installed.
  4. Ensure that watertight shields are installed over window, doors and any other opening in buildings.
  5. Construct non-supporting, break-away-walls designed in a manner that it will collapse when forced with water without damaging the house or even its foundation (Johnson & Priest, 2008).

Strategy to mitigate unemployment challenge

  1. Conduct regular audit and assessment of the dam especially its levees to determine the strength of the dam
  2. Ensure timely hazard forecasting in case of any likelihood of flooding due to structural complications
  3. Conduct risk mapping by providing information to those living and businesses in flood-prone areas with information that will help them take actions earlier.
  4. Prepare an emergency evacuation plan. This will help to reduce or eradicate property losses (Johnson & Priest, 2008).

Strategy to mitigate the reduced aquatic species and the pollution of the river

  1. Integrate both the environmental standards and construction standards in choosing the material for building that is less harmful to aquatic species.
  2. Prohibit the disposal of solid material into the water.
  3. Prohibit water pollution through spillage of chemicals used at the dam construction site into the river.


The indicators that will be used to measure the effectiveness of the strategy to mitigate the displacement and resettlement of the local people are:

  1. The number of people that have secured insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.
  2. The level of compliance to them mandatory construction of a building of a minimum of first-floor elevation.  This can be noted from the number of houses that have complied by this restriction.
  3. The level of use of the waterproof coating in the exterior walls
  4. The availability and condition of the sump pump and foundation drain system installed
  5. The number of houses that have used watertight shields over their every opening.
  6. The number of a building that constructed the non-supporting, break-away-walls (Aerts et al., 2014)

The indicators that will be used to measure the effectiveness of the strategy to mitigate the unemployment challenge are:

  1. The finding from the audits and assessment of the dam
  2. The manner hazard forecasts are made
  3. The extent and effectiveness of risk mapping
  4. The appropriateness of the emergency evacuation plan

The indicators that will be used to measure the effectiveness of the strategy to mitigate the reduced aquatic species and pollution of the river are:

  1. The level of integration of both the environmental standards and construction standards and their level of compliance with these standards.
  2. The amount of solid material suspension or deposited in the dam
  3. The number of dead fish species suspended on water
  4. The reduced amount of aquatic plants.


The limitation of this strategy is that it does not entirely mitigate these socio-economic and conservation challenges. This strategy has some residual risks that still poses some threats both to the people and the aquatic species.


To sum it all, this strategy is problem-specific that will help to mitigate the socio-economic and conservation challenges. Therefore, it is important to adopt this strategy since it is geared towards attaining sustainable development for Upstream of Three Gorges Dam.