Three Gorges Reservoir

Three Gorges Reservoir is a large artificial lake formed after Three Gorges Dam started to dam water. With a total area of 1,084 square kilometers (419 sq mi), the reservoir region covers 21 cities and counties in Chongqing and Hubei, which includes 1,711 villages. The designed deepest water level is 175 meters (574 feet), and the total storage capacity of Three Gorges Reservoir reaches 39.3 billion cubic meters (51.4 billion cubic yards), thus it functions well in flood storage, irrigation, power generation and so on.

Facts of Three Gorges Reservoir

Region: From Jiangjin, Chongqing to Three Gorges Dam, Yichang; starting from Changshou in Chongqing when the water level at the lowest
Length: 524 – 663 km (326 – 412 mi)
Width: 1,700 m (1,859 yd) at average; 2,000 m (2,187 yd) at the widest part
Area: 1,084 square kilometers (419 sq mi)
Depth: 140 m (460 ft) at average; 175 m (574 ft) at the deepest
Total Capacity: 39.3 billion cubic meters (51.4 billion cubic yards)
Flood Capacity: 22.15 billion cubic meters (29 billion cubic yards)
Initial Water Storage Time: June 1st, 2003
Submerged Area: 79,000 square kilometers (30,502 sq mi)

Map of Three Gorges Reservoir
Map of Three Gorges Reservoir

Benefits: Flood Control Is Intended to Be the Vital Function.

Three Gorges Reservoir has a flood capacity of 22.15 billion cubic meters (29 billion cubic yards), helping control flood effectively of the middle and lower reaches, in particular, of the section in Hubei. Little flood would be eliminated directly through storing water. If a large flood occurs, it would be cut to a lower grade, for Three Gorges Reservoir can reduce the flood of 27,000-33,000 cubic meters (35,315-43,162 cubic yards) per second.

Besides, the water stored can be used to generate power, and irrigate farmland in dry seasons. After storing water, the navigation in the reservoir area has been greatly improved as well.

Problems Caused by Three Gorges Reservoir

Because the mountains on both banks are submerged in Three Gorges Reservoir, the possibility of geological disasters increases a lot, mainly including landslides, debris flows and even earthquakes although Three Gorges Reservoir was designed to be earth quakeproof. Meanwhile, the climate changes as water area was expanded, which led to evaporation increase, and diurnal temperature difference become narrow. Before being submerged, 1.2 million immigrants needed to be resettled. The Three Gorges Reservoir also impacts on the river creatures and submerges many historical relics.

Pollution and Sedimentation in Three Gorges Reservoir

After the Three Gorges Dam was built, Yangtze River in the reservoir area has become wider and deeper and flowed more slowly, making the self-purification of river get worse. As a result, the pollutants cannot be rushed away but stay in the reservoir. What’s more, flood would bring floating litters from upstream to cause large litter islands in Three Gorges Reservoir. Every year, a large amount of people are organized to clear floating wastes in the reservoir.

Also, as the water flows more slowly, sands and mud are more easily to deposit, especially in the main channel and wide sections. Sedimentation decreases lifetime of a reservoir. Fortunately, measures have been applied to reduce the serious sedimentation, such as blocking sediments, planting forests and other actions for conservation of water and soil. Now, the sedimentation has been improved beyond expectation.

What to See in Three Gorges Reservoir

Even though some spots have disappeared forever for they were inundated or partly inundated, there are quite a few newly-presented scenic spots in Three Gorges Reservoir area. For example, the wholly submerged White Crane Ridge became an underwater museum of steles forest. Zhang Fei Temple and Quan Yuan Temple were removed to new sites. Besides, the tourist area of the Three Gorges Dam was opened officially in 1997, which attracts plenty of visitors every year. The tourist area mainly consists of Tanzi Mountain, 185 Dam Viewing Point and Damming Memorial Garden. Also, the improved waterway enables the smooth cruise in the Three Gorges.

Best Way to Tour Three Gorges Reservoir

Three Gorges Cruise between Chongqing and Yichang is the best way to have fun in Three Gorges Reservoir. The ships go downstream from Chongqing to Yichang in 4 days and 3 nights; and those go upstream would spend 5 days and 4 nights. During the cruise journey, you will see most of the famous scenic sites in the Three Gorges Reservoir on the ship; you will also go shore to visit some site on the banks, such as Fengdu Ghost City, Shibaozhai, etc.

- Last modified on May. 14, 2020 -
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