The Three Gorges Programme In China Construction Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Human mankind has put together great projects on this globe of earth, may it be construction projects, IT related, management based or regarding any other field, men has excelled at every point and notion. To classify any set of activities as project, one should first know what constitutes a Project. Project is "a number of activities targeted to achieve a certain goal, with the help of limited resources, in a pre decided time frame". (Kerzner, 1998)

Many critics and experts have commented upon the sudden heave of interest in the filed of Project Management shown by the firms and especially to the height that this surge has taken, that is beyond the boundaries of the conventional sectors of engineering and different construction related projects (Sydow et al., 2002) Just for instance, have identified how huge and big organizations and companies are re-arranging into less officious rather than being bureaucratic and trying to become more malleable and supple project handling entities.

Davies, Brady and Hobday (2006) suggested that firms and companies in all sort of businesses are concluding that customary organisational formation and hierarchy, as well as subdivisions of operating units, trade divisions and units set up for upholding elevated level of volume through placement of high quality goods and services and for deriving decisions in a comparatively steady technical and market situation, are no longer sufficient.

In the fast altering and progressively more unstable and vague atmosphere, today firms and businesses are finding that project establishment of some sort is better suitable to the type of provisional troubles and openings of chances that they have to handle. Others recommend that projects are getting generously proportioned, more intricate and extensive. Gradually more projects expand beyond the individual organisation or firm. In addition, there is proof of a more universal dependence on projects, and also that this widens beyond the confines of functioning life to a wider 'projectification of society'. The projectification of the public concept tries to detain the colonisation of a lot of billet of life with project associated philosophy, policy, methods and dealings, aspiring to shape a new concept of project lucidity (Hodgson and Cicmil, 2003).

Project of the Three Gorges Dam

One of the greatest and successful projects handled and completed by the men on this globe is "Three Gorges Dam Project" built on the Yangtze River in China. Sun Yatsen, a Chinese political leader first wished for constructing a water dam on the River of Yangtze in 1919 for the purpose of power generation, but the thought was put on hold due to adverse political and economic circumstances. Major floods resurrected the idea and the government adopted it in 1954 for flood control. Therefore in the history of china "Three Gorges Project" has a pivotal place.

Flood control was the foremost motive for the Three Gorges Dam plan. Chinese files demonstrated that 200 plus major floods, on average about one per every ten years, happened between 185 BC and 1900 AD. Floods had an impact on the economy as well, the loss which took place due to massive impact on the markets (Ministry of Water Resources of Peoples Republic of China, 1994).

The storage capacity of the TGD, that is 39.3 billion m3, over half that was 22.15 billion m3 was fixed and was supposed to be used for flood control, which permitted China to lessen the impact of devastating floods from levels predicted once every ten years to those predicted once a century.

The second but not less important factor which was the reason for the construction of this project of Three Gorges Dam was the massive power production. The power supply in china has seen major short of supply in past few years and therefore one of the chief reasons for which the completion of this project was anticipated was 18.2 million KW outputs, which also made this Dam as the largest power production unit in this world. This increase in the china's electric supply will give a boost to the rising growth level of China's economy. And in upcoming years it is predicted that china's power supply will augment more (Albert, 1998)

The third reason towards which this project targeted and achieved was the increase in the water routes. The Three Gorges Dam allowed the Pacific Ocean stream into Chongqing city. This increase in the navigability affected the economy in a positive manner, bringing new chances of jobs, careers in the areas where economical boost was needed (Albert, 1998).

The World Commission on Dams in their report have clearly said that constructions of very large dams have negative affects on the environment. In their report of World Commissions on Dam, they have discussed some of the common hazards like effect on the wildlife in forests, emission of dangerous gasses like greenhouse gas, bad impact on marine life, formation of wetlands and adverse affects on the quality of water due to the accumulation of water from different dams. (Peter, 2008)

Another point of controversy that took place in the construction of Three Gorges Dam is that whenever a Dam of such a magnitude is constructed, large resettlement of population takes place and same happen in the case of Three Gorges Dam. In the start is was estimated that 1 million to 2 million of population has to be relocated, but the actual figure was never confirmed, some say 1.2 million were to be shifted, though more than 1 million people were resettled during the construction phase of the Dam. Another aspect to the relocation and resettlement was the psychological and social affect on the population who were to be relocated and therefore a lot of community oriented critics were against this project (Marta & Jordi, 2006).

Another factor which was raised as a question in the matter of Three Gorges was the change in the natural landscape of that place. The level of reservoir had its impact on the archaeological sites and the places counted as ancient ruins. The administration looking after the construction of the Three Gorges Dam said they would try to save the cultural heritage as much as possible.

The Three Gorges Dam project would be considered as a Success despite a lot of negative impact that it has caused because this project achieved for what it set out as targets. The engineering and the managerial department of the Three Gorges Dam were implementing a systematic approach in their Carrying out this project. They all were known and well aware of the troubles and hazards in constructing this large dam and filling it with water.

Like any other big construction project will have some cost and benefits to it, the Three Gorges Dam also did have some cost and benefits (Peter, 2008)

The Iron Triangle

To measure the success of this project, the model of 'Iron Triangle" will be used. Iron Triangle is the traditional and orthodox way of measuring the success of any project yet this is the most widely used model for this purpose. The iron triangle is also referred to as the Project management triangle. Like any other project and like iron triangle measure, a project has its own constraints which can be time, cost and scope.

The iron triangle constitutes three success criteria which are Cost, Time and Quality.




(Figure 2: The Iron Triangle)

Cost of the Three Gorges Dam Project

The Project cost was around 180 billion Yuan, which was approximately 12% under budget which makes around 30 billion USD. The decrease in the cost of the project was not due to the less spending; rather it was due to the low inflation rate in china. The relocation of the population of the nearby areas of the dam cost around 68.557 billion Yuan, which has also been included in this total cost. Construction wise, this project has not proved to be an expensive project because the construction cost incurred on this project of Three Gorges Dam was 64.613 billion Yuan and the full return of the cost from the generation of power is predicted in next ten years. The approximate power generation expected to be generated from this Three Gorged Dam is 1000 TW/h. (Marta & Jordi, 2006)

The over all time span that this project took was seventeen (17) years, but till eleventh (11th) year only, funding were required because after that the project became self sufficient and generated funds from the power supply of the few power units installed by then. So only for fist eleven (11) years, funds were needed.

Sources of Funds

The sources of funds included the Construction Fund of Three Gorges Dam, revenues from the Gezhouba Dam, loans taken and granted from the China Development Bank, and foreign commercial banks, bonds natured corporate, and profits before and after the start of the operational activities of the dam.

The over all Managers utilized the funds allocated for the project very well and completed the task in the lesser amount than expected or was predicted.

Time of the Three Gorges Project

The time span of the Three Gorges Dam was planned in these seventeen Years, the complete break-up of the schedule was pre planned according to the years.

They planned for the preparation and the first stage construction to be completed in five (5) years that is from 1993-1997, then second stage of construction was scheduled to get finished in six (6) years, from 1998-2003 which got its milestone on time and entered into the third phase of its construction and completed that in six (6) years too till 2009 and came into functional. Previously the targeted year to complete the project was 2008 but then it was rescheduled and 2009 was decided and it git finished in 2009. (Henry et al.., 2004)

Quality of the Three Gorges Project

The quality of the project was checked and approved at each step, despite the large scale and the hard technical and social confronts directed by the Three Gorges Dam, the engineers of china were able to conquer the obstructions at each stage of the project.

A lot criticism was done on this project of Three Gorges Dam and a lot questions were raised, but these criticisms did not go in vain as at each stage and level, the managers took actions against each matter and resolved the issue by taking measures against them and implementing the controlled plan in the construction. (Henry et al.., 2004)

Until now there haven't been any reports of the slits or minor changes in the infrastructure of the Three Gorges Dam, which shows that the dam has potential to bear the water level which is maintained in it and was constructed for.


Whatever the scale or level of the project was, there is always a space between perfection and the actual level of work. In the project of Three Gorges Dam, the administrators have taken care of the Time, Cost and quality but the environmentalists who had issues regarding the dangerous effects on the certain species of the fish found in the Yangtze river were put to jeopardy. There might have been some possible way to avoid that ecological destruction and the hazards caused in the environment.

The cost of affects caused on the environment was too high. Therefore a lot of critics think that the project of Three Gorges Dam from the start was a wrong decision, however I would rather conclude that despite that fact that it caused environmental destruction, it has given china a way to prove to the world that they, with the biggest Dam in the world are ready to become the 2nd biggest super power in the this century. China is on its way for its destination.


The famous and world renowned Three Gorges Dam of China has rapidly achieved its conclusion. This project of Three Gorges dam, had a huge collection of peripheral developmental scheme along with it, comprised the chief water supply expansion in the past history of humankind. As happens with any other key construction plans that substantially changes or amends a watershed, this project of the Three Gorges Dam had important costs and payback. Among the most major remunerations were the production of energy without greenhouse gas releases, developments in navigation, and possible decrease in flood dangers. Among the most noteworthy costs were huge displacements of millions of Chinese people to make route for the dam and water reservoir, further environmental squalor of the River of Yangtze's ecology and fisheries, a drop in sedimentation touching the Eastern China Sea, and a rising jeopardy of new avalanche and reservoir persuaded seismicity. Over years, the overall benefits and profits of the project would become more obvious.