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Recent rains and floods in China have already taken the lives of over 1000 people. This article brings a new slant to the story, the danger of the Three Gorges Dam becoming overwhelmed with the volume of water more rains might bring. If the dam fails, the damage and fatalities are impossible to predict, but would be horrific.

In another story, huge quantities of trash are also threatening the dam after being washed into the river from towns upstream.

Deng Xiaoping was apparently a big supporter of the dam as one symbol of China’s emergence into the developed world. The project was pushed through despite the protests of environmentalists and others who supported a series of smaller dams. Building Three Gorges displaced three million people.

The benefits of the dam? Lots of hydro-electric energy being produced, but that too might have been done more efficiently with a series of smaller dams. There is a benefit also to the nationalistic Chinese who can–for now–point to Three Gorges as a great feat of Chinese engineering. We can all hope that the pride never gets compromised by what would be a terrible catastrophe.

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