This milestone, in time for China’s summer flood season. was marked with a televised ceremony attended by workers and officials. The entire project, situated on the vast Yangtze river, is not scheduled to come online for a further three years.

Three Gorges began construction in 1993 with the backing of China’s leadership, despite objections to its US$22B cost and ongoing environmental and social concerns. The multipurpose project is to supply further electricity to China and also provide flood control. When fully complete in 2009, 26 turbines will generate 18,200MW, with approximately 84.7BkWh produced annually

Some believe the project is threatening the drinking water of major cities like Chongqing, and are not happy about the effect damming the Yangtze will have on the local ecosystem, including the sewage resulting from silt build-up.

The government has had to resettle approximately 1.9M people in more than 1000 towns and villages, and many villagers were also forced to give up their farmland, and therefore their livelihood.

China has promised that relocated people will be given money, new homes and jobs, and that billions are being spent on sewage treatment facilities.

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