Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Gordon J. Young

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Controversy over the construction of the Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze River in China is an on-going national issue. Proposals have been advanced by numerous disciplinary research teams to identify the environmental consequences of the project development. However, whether the project will benefit or damage the overall environment still remains in question.

No matter which one of the four storage schemes is going to be put into operation, the human, economic, biological, and physical environmental alterations will have no equal in the our contemporary world and probably even for some time in the future. Above all, flood control, hydro-electricity production and waterway improvement are the beneficial consequences, while population displacement, destruction of fish habitat, reservoir sedimentation, and coastal degradation are the adverse effects. Among all of these, flood release, power generation, and inhabitant, resettlement are the most critical concerns of the project. Geographically, the project will be of advantage to the area downstream of the dam.

Through application of an Environmental Evaluation System (EES), it is revealed that (1) the 150-m Storage Scheme is the best one among the four alternatives, (2) each of the four is able to create more beneficial impacts than adverse ones on the environment, and (3) between 150 m and 180 m, the lower the normal water-level behind the dam the greater the benefit to the environment. The development of the 150 m Project is therefore shown to be advisable.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season