Thursday, May 26, 2011

You CANNOT Fight Mother Nature. Period.

I used to call a policy like this "short sighted" - and indeed, it is that. But I realized recently that it doesn't go far enough to call these types of policies short-sighted. I need to emphasize that, while one may be able to fight City Hall (on occasion), one can NEVER FIGHT AND WIN in the long run against Mother Nature. Just a friendly reminder that we are of the Earth, the Earth is not of us!
China admits Three Gorges Dam has 'urgent problems' as drought persists
May 25, 2011|By Jo Ling Kent, CNN

In a rare admission, the Chinese government has said the Three Gorges Dam -- the world's largest hydropower plant -- is having "urgent problems," warning of environmental, construction and migration "disasters" amid the worst drought to hit southern China in 50 years.

China's State Council, the country's Cabinet, this week said that while the dam has been beneficial to the region, there has also been a variety of issues since construction began in 1992.

"At the same time that the Three Gorges Dam project provides huge comprehensive benefits, urgent problems must be resolved regarding the smooth relocation of residents, ecological protection and geological disaster prevention," the statement said.

This is the first major official acknowledgment of the dam's repercussions. The Chinese government also admitted the Three Gorges Dam has negatively impacted downstream river water, transport and migration.

"Some problems emerged at various stages of project planning and construction but could not be solved immediately due to the conditions at the time," the State Council said. "Some arose because of increased demands brought on by economic and social development."

The project, which cost more than 180 billion yuan (US$28 billion), has been a source of pride for the government while also arousing intense debate among scientists and villagers. Completed in 2006, the dam includes a five-tier ship lock, a reservoir, and 26 hydropower turbo-generators. The dam was originally touted for its ability to control the impact of flooding that threatens the Yangtze river delta each summer.

However, millions of Chinese citizens have been adversely impacted throughout the construction process and even after the dam's completion.

The Three Gorges displaced over 1.4 million residents along the Yangtze during the digging and construction of a giant concrete barrier, made up of 16 million tons of concrete. More than 1,000 towns and villages were flooded in the process. Landslides and pollution have plagued the areas near the dam since it was built.

Meanwhile, a prolonged drought has persisted along the Yangtze, affecting nearly 10 million people along the river's middle and lower sections, in Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi and Anhui provinces, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Citizens in the region are blaming the dam's restiction on river flow for exacerbating the effects of the drought.
How would the United States government deal with a city say, the size of New York City, being without adequate drinking water, let alone water to bathe in, water the animals in the Central Park Zoo, water one's plants, wash one's car, wash one's clothes, cook, wash dishes, etc. etc. etc. 

This is the kind of environmental disaster we're talking about here, with the Three Gorges Dam. 

More information can be found in this article:

China admits problems with Three Gorges Dam, Nature News - note also the comments.  I can't help but wonder, were these made by people paid by the Chinese government? Who knows - maybe only The Shadow knows...

I will say this - the population explosion in China has long outstripped the fresh/clean water supply, long before the Three Gorges Dam was built  - probably long before it was dreamed of!  I know I've been reading periodic articles for years about the growing "water problems" in China - since I first got connected to the internet (December, 1998).  Since this blog has been online (May, 2007) I've posted several articles here about the growing problems of providing drinkable water to the population - that's drinkable water.  Who the hell knows what's in the water people are using these days to irrigate their crops!  When one thinks about what business interests in China have done to adulterate consumer products just in order to make an extra penny per sale - oh my!

Thank Goddess for the internet.  No matter how hard they may try, no government can totally block this source of international information sharing.  Not China, not Iran, not the USA, not Russia.  You can "spin," darlings, but you can't hide!

From the Brisbane Times (Australia)
Yangtze delta hit by worst drought in decades
Jonathan Watts
May 27, 2011
Guihu Lake in Wuhu, Anhui province. Photo: Reuters

BEIJING: The Yangtze delta is caught in its worst drought in 50 years, forcing an unprecedented release of water from the Three Gorges Dam and prompting warnings of power shortages.

The drought is damaging crops, threatening wildlife and raising doubts about the viability of China's huge water diversion ambitions.

Up until June 10, billions of cubic metres of water will be released from the dam as engineers sacrifice hydro-electric generation for irrigation, drinking supplies and ecosystem support.

The drastic measure comes amid warnings of power shortages and highlights the severity of the dry spell in the Yangtze delta, which supports 400 million people and 40 per cent of China's economic activity.

From January to April, the worst-hit province, Hubei, has had 40 per cent less rainfall than the average over the same period since 1961. Shanghai, Jiangsu and Hunan are severely affected.

Regional authorities have de- clared more than 1300 lakes ''dead'', which means they are out of use for irrigation and drinking supply. The shortages affect 4.4 million people and 3.2 million farm animals, according to the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

The narrowing and shallowing of the Yangtze - Asia's longest river - and its tributaries has stranded thousands of boats and left a 220-kilometre stretch off limits for container ships.

The central government has sent water pumps and diesel generators to Hubei and Hunan to ease the impact. This is expensive and adds to the pressures on China's energy supply system at a time when the state grid authorities are warning of the worst summer power cuts in seven years.

''The primary cause of this drought is a lack of rainfall,'' said Ma Jun, founder of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs. ''But we can also be certain that the Three Gorges Dam has had a negative impact on the water supply downstream. This is a reminder that the water in the Yangtze is not unlimited. We cannot bet everything on this river. We need to focus more on conservation.''

Farmers are pumping water from nature reserves, prompting alarm among conservationists about the loss of habitat for endangered species including the finless porpoise - the last remaining cetacean in the Yangtze after the demise of the baiji dolphin.

To minimise the impact, the Three Gorges authority has been instructed to open the sluice gates. It has already discharged 1.8 billion cubic metres of water this month, taking the level of the reservoir below 153 metres from a peak of 175 metres.

The dam's role in the drought has been the subject of a fierce debate. Downstream communities have accused the Three Gorges authority of holding back too much water to generate power. Environmentalists say this has contributed to the demise of lakes and wetlands, which are already under pressure from urban development and the demands of agriculture. The operators say the reservoir is helping to ease the shortages through the timely release of water.

Last week the state council - China's cabinet - acknowledged that the Three Gorges faced ''urgent problems'' of geological disaster prevention, relocation and ecological protection and noted the negative impact on downstream water supplies and river transport.

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