6 Feb 2002 – China has released its annual spending budget on the vast Three Gorges project saying it plans to spend a total of 15.1bn yuan ($1.82bn) to construct a mammoth dam near the Three Gorges on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River this year.

This sum is the largest investment since construction of the water control project started ten years ago, said an official with the China Yangtze River Three Gorges Project Development Corporation. According to the official, 8.7bn yuan ($1.05bn) of this investment will be used for the relocation of more residents from the site of the Three Gorges project or the reservoir area.

More than 73bn yuan ($8.8bn) has already been spent on the Three Gorges Project since the project was launched in 1993. The entire project, located near Yichang in central China’s Hubei Province, is estimated to cost a total of 180bn yuan ($21.69bn) and will be finished in 17 years.

Installing metallic structures and debugging electronic products and machinery will be the most important task this year, said the official, who added that workers would also need to pour 1.4m cubic metres of concrete in the new year, 2.6m cubic metres less than last year. Water storage at the Three Gorges will begin in 2003, when the first group of generating units and the permanent ship lock will be put into operation.

The project consists of a 1983-metre-long and 185-metre-high dam and 26 generating units with a combined capacity of 18 200 MW and an annual output of 84.7 TWh. The permanent ship lock can accommodate ships of 10,000 dwt.