Did you know that the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric dam in the world, spanning the mighty Yangtze river in Central China, literally slows down the rotation of the planet? Though the effect is quite negligible, that should give you an idea of the sheer power of this $37 Billion Dam!

largest dam in the world
Picture Source largest dam in the world

The initial idea behind building the Dam was of the first President of The Republic of China, Sun Yat-sen. It was later supported and executed by the Chinese Communist dictator, Mao Zedong, who even wrote a poem about it, titled “Swimming”! This is an excerpt from it:

Walls of stone will stand upstream to the west
To hold back Wushan’s clouds and rain
Till a smooth lake rises in the narrow gorges.
The mountain goddess if she is still there
Will marvel at a world so changed.

The massive project uses dams, pumping stations, tunnels, and canals to draw 45 billion cubic meters of water, 1,000 miles upstream each year, and the Chinese government regards the project as a historic engineering, social and economic success, which will provide clean and cheap electric power to millions of people, and even reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the river!

largest dam in the world

Picture Source largest dam in the world

When fully operational, this Dam, by itself, produces 20000 Megawatts of power, 11 times as much as the Hoover Dam produces, and twice as much as all the nuclear power stations in Britain put together produce! Owing to the colossal size of the dam, and China’s extreme summers, the engineers had to artificially spray a massive fog blanket over the site, during its construction, in order to prevent the sun’s rays from overheating the structure, resulting in the cracking of the concrete!

largest dam in the world

Picture Source largest dam in the world

However, there was another problem. The Dam essentially sat on one of the busiest water routes in China, carrying 18 million tonnes of freight a year. So, in order to allow for nearly 170 ships a day to navigate through the waterway, the Chinese built 2 fitting companions to the biggest Dam on Earth, the biggest ship lock on Earth, and the biggest ship lift on Earth, for Cargo and passenger ships respectively!

largest dam in the world

Picture Source largest dam in the world

Dams usually have a very dangerous drawback of causing the deposit of sediments at the bottom of the waterbed, preventing valuable nutrients from reaching the downstream farmlands. However, the brilliant Chinese engineers found a way out of that as well! Exploiting the massive power of the floodwater they devised a system which would flush the silt sediments out of the reservoir, automatically sending it downstream!

largest dam in the world

Picture Source largest dam in the world

Capable of providing electricity to 60 million Chinese, this monstrous project of the Chinese is so powerful, that it could power 6% of India’s entire population, all by itself!

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