This one was hard to resist. As you might know, China is experiencing some terrible weather, at least in certain parts of the country. We’ve had torrential rains, which have led to massive flooding, property damage and hundreds of deaths. This is not exactly an amusing story (to say the least), but it always seems that these sorts of things attract folks who engage in black humor.
One of the big issues that has come up over the past couple of weeks involves flood control measures and large-scale engineering projects for which the government takes responsibility. Some of the dikes/levees/embankments have not exactly performed as advertised, and a lot of folks are not pleased.
One of the most famous of these projects, and certainly the most expensive one, is the Three Gorges Dam. This is a ginormous sucker that spans the Yangtze River in Hubei Province and has been touted by the government as the best thing since sliced bread. Among its other virtues, the dam has been talked up as beneficial for flood prevention.
Yeah, you know where this is going. At the moment, there is a big-time tropical storm heading for us, and all eyes are on the Three Gorges Dam. The river is already running at very high levels, and this is where the dam will either earn its reputation or be pilloried mercilessly.
So everyone wants to know how robust this thing is, right? Well, one enterprising person took a look at a few of the assurances made to the press over the past few years to get an indication of how the Three Gorges Dam might hold up.
I find this series of four stories (you can click through the headlines below to the original stories) slightly unnerving as well as amusing. The last one on the list is from yesterday, which makes it even scarier, seeing as how we’re facing yet another storm.
By the way, apologies for the bad English versions. I’m obviously no linguist. Hopefully you will consider it acceptable paraphrasing as opposed to atrocious translating.
May 9, 2007: ???????????, ????????? (The Three Gorges Dam will be completely able to stop floods and can withstand a one-thousand year flood.)
October 21, 2008: ??????????????? (The Three Gorges Dam can withstand a catastrophic hundred-year flood.)
July 20, 2010: ????????????????? (Changjiang Water Commission: Don’t rely only on the Three Gorges Dam to withstand floods.)
Doesn’t give me a whole lot of confidence.
In all seriousness, though, I hope that the Three Gorges Dam lives up to all the hype, the flood waters recede, and everyone makes it through the next storm with no trouble.
- Ussed in this way, “ten thousand” years essentially just means a really long time.[↩]