Just when you thought 2020 could not get any worse, there are now worries concerning the structural integrity of the Three Gorges Dam.
These concerns were voiced recently by Wang Weiluo, a German-Chinese hydraulic engineer who has studied the Three Gorges Dam for decades.
In an interview last week with Radio France Internationale, Wang said that the massive dam had been built “too quickly” and that “cracks” and “substandard concrete” were discovered during construction. He explained that these were worrying factors considering that the water level at the dam had risen above its flood warning line in the wake of heavy rains in the region.
However, the nationalistic Global Times tabloid was quick to dismiss Wang’s concerns, publishing an article on Monday quoting a Chinese expert who explained that the water had only reached 147 meters, just two meters above the 145-meter warning line while the dam had been designed to stand up to “once-in-a-millennium” flooding where the water level would go up to 175 meters.
The dam is “absolutely safe,” the expert emphasized.
As the world’s largest dam, a failure at the Three Gorges Dam would be a catastrophe on a level that is difficult to imagine, affecting perhaps 400 million people living in mega-cities down river like Wuhan, Nanjing, and Shanghai.