China Water Project

1621 Words 7 Pages
A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Water Projects in China vs. U.S.
The paradoxical nature of water has brought prosperity and destruction to many human civilizations. In the history of China and the United States, both nations have tried to tame its water to only bring prosperity to its people. The intensive construction of dams and irrigation in the U.S. West has contributed to West Coast’s economic and urban development. The inexorable water projects in China also played an important role in nation building and economic success. To evaluate these water projects, it is crucial to consider their costs and benefits both economically and environmentally. Although many water projects have shown significant benefits, people have criticized them for
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The Sanmenxia dam has become a national symbol of power and the party’s ability to dominate nature. Many people hoped that the construction of the Sanmenxia Dam would block all the silt from upstream and make the Yellow River “run clear”. (Yellow River, pg.184) After completion, the dam failed to block all the silt in the Yellow River because the rapid silt accumulation has exceeded Chinese leader’s expectations. The purpose of the dam was later changed to discharge silt back into the river downstream. Not only was the Sanmenxia dam rendered “next to useless”, (River Runs Black, pg. 52) Chinese people have also paid a significant economic and environmental cost for it. In addition to the huge relocation cost of farmlands and peasants, the cost of construction and re-construction of the dam were both significant. Deforestation around the dam also loosened the land and exacerbated the siltation problem in the Yellow …show more content…
The Dujiangyan Irrigation System was first constructed in the Qin Dynasty to manage the water in the Yangtze River. To this day, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System was still in use and it “remains as scenic as it is functional.” (The Water Kingdom, pg.110) This irrigation system contributed to the unification of China under the rule of Qin and brought prosperity to the Chengdu Plain. The most surprising part about the Dujiangyan Irrigation System is that it requires minimal maintenance and repair, unlike many other major water development projects. There were also no recorded deaths from construction. This project proves that it is possible to design water projects that has little environmental and economic consequences while promoting economic

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