17 April 2009

The rising cost of landslides in the Three Gorges dam area

Posted by Dave Petley

One of the great concerns about the Three Gorges Dam in China has always been the potential for large-scale landslides. As the project nears completion, inevitably very over-budget, the level of the lake is rising and the cost of these landslides in becoming apparent. Today AFP and Xinhua have runs stories that raise concerns still further. These stories report that since September there have been 166 landslide and debris flow events on the banks of the reservoir, forcing the relocation of 28,600 people. The economic losses associated with these slides are approximately US$79 million.

Unfortunately these events have occurred before the onset of this year’s rainy season and before the planned further increase in the water level later this year.