Don’t miss the Discovery Channel’s fascinating inside look into the history and construction of the Three Gorges Dam project on China’s Yangze River. This massive project is the largest public works project in human history. It will create a 400 mile long reservoir so massive that it may actually affect (very slightly but measurably) the rotation of the earth. Three Gorges Dam is displacing over a million Chinese who live upriver from the Dam, though it appears that in many cases they’ll be relocated to better housing at higher ground. 36,000 square miles will be inundated as the river above the dam slowly rises. Although some measures are being taken to preserve historical monuments an incalculable degree of historical and human emotional treasure will be lost from this dam.
The Mega Dam special gives some incredible insider looks into the control rooms of the power generation and shipping lock facilities as well as a brief look at some of the computer controls, which appear to have very intuitive graphic interfaces.
A critic quoted in the film suggested that the benefits of the dam are effectively shipped off to big cities and larger farmers at the expense of the million plus Chinese who are getting displaced. However other aspects of the story do not seem to support this vision because it appears that the relocated cities are generally of higher quality than those they are replacing. One advocate suggested that this would be hard on the old relocated folks, but for the children the relocation would bring better health, education, and opportunity.