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  Dam at Sandouping (Three Gorges Dam Project)
Photograph by Frank Ristow, teacher of German language at Sichuan International Studies University, Chongqing, China

The headwaters of the Yangtze River are on the Qinghai - Tibet – Plateau in an altitude of about 4 900 m above sea level. In Yibin, at half of its 6 300 km long journey to the ocean, and at the final destination of the regular river navigation, the river has an altitude of only about 305 m above sea level. In Chongqing, the starting or ending point of every Yangtze River Cruise, the average water level is about 160 m above sea level.

At the “Three Gorges Dam”, 600 km downstream, the water level will rise from 135 m to a high of 156 m above sea level during the summer river flood, after completion of the dam’s concrete construction work in May 2006. At the end of the year 2006, the water level will be at about 165 m above sea level. After ending the whole construction work of the dam and its related units in 2009, the water will rise to an average level of about 175 m above sea level (maximum 180.4 m, minimum 145 m above sea level). If the water gets to the maximum level, it has risen for about 100 m.

During the summer river flood, the average increase of the water level in the gorges, which are surrounded by 800 to 1500 m high mountains, was about 70 m. In relation to the high of the gorges, the future changes of the water level will be insignificant. The gorges do not loose any of its beauteousness.

The Daning River, an untamed small tributary, which meets the Yangtze in the Wu Gorge, the second of the three gorges, and its so called “Little Three Gorges“, as well as the Shennong Beck and its Mianzhu Gorge, will loose their wild character in the lower parts due to the rising water. But then, there will be an easer access to these small rivers and their distant, untamed and hidden parts.

Of course, some places of interest along the riverside will be flooded.
Some will be removed and will be put to the new built “Three Gorges Museum” in Chongqing and some will be rebuilt at higher places like Zhang Fei Tempel. Others will revive as a complete new attraction like the famous stone carvings in the riverbed at Fuling, which will be shown in an underwater museum. In addition, many new attractions will open up in the future.

The three most important aspects of constructing a dam – flood protection, clean power generation and improvement of the river navigation, which also helps to develop the western part of the country – already show their effectiveness.

Serenity ****
President No. 4--Yangtze Cruise ****
Yangtze River Cruiser Serenity
angtze Cruiser President No. 4 picture 2
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