CHINA / SOCIETY
China’s first large hydropower project on Yangtze River Gezhouba Dam celebrates 40th anniversary
Published: Aug 01, 2021 04:07 PM
Panoramic view of Gezhouba Hydro Complex Photo: Bao Mingliang/Courtesy of Three Gorges Corporation

Panoramic view of Gezhouba Hydro Complex Photo: Bao Mingliang/Courtesy of Three Gorges Corporation



The Gezhouba Dam, the first large-scale water control project on the main artery of the Yangtze River, celebrated its 40th anniversary of its commissioning for power generation on Friday, with the production of nearly 600 billion kilowatt-hours of clean electricity.

Engineers and experts have said that as one of the most important water conservation projects in China, Gezhouba Dam is a monument in the history of Chinese hydropower construction, reflecting China's strong mobilization and organizational  capabilities. Its 40-year "high reliability, longevity, and zero defects" operation has made an important contribution to China's economic and social development.

Gezhouba is located in Yichang, Central China's Hubei Province, which is the dividing point between the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River.

The construction of Gezhouba Dam was approved by Chairman Mao Zedong, and Premier Zhou Enlai personally organized the demonstration and drafted the report, said Lu Zhaoce, the first chief engineer of Gezhouba Hydropower Plant, adding that from the start of construction in 1970 and the commissioning of the first generator unit in 1981, to the completion of the whole project in December 1988, more than 100,000 hydropower workers from all over the country, who set up base in the wilderness, carrying poles and pushing carts to overcome a series of significant technical problems in 18 years, finally completed all construction.

"In 40 years, Gezhouba Dam has witnessed China's move from isolation to openness and prosperity. Gezhouba builders are constantly innovating our technology to maintain our leading position in the industry while ensuring safe operations, becoming an important project for the high-quality development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt," Xiang Ke, deputy director of the Gezhouba Hydropower Plant, told the Global Times.

The total length of Gezhouba Dam is 2,606.5 meters, while the maximum dam height is 53.8 meters. Its reservoir capacity is 1.58 billion cubic meters, with comprehensive function in power generation, flood control, and navigation. Currently, with continuous technological improvement, the maximum flood discharge of the hub can reach 110,000 cubic meters per second. The annual one-way passage capacity of the Dam's lock can reach 50 million tons.

Since its completion, Gezhouba Dam has safely released more than 60 flash floods on the Yangtze River, effectively reducing the pressure of downstream flood control operations and helping to protect the lives and property of people in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze.

Engineers and experts also noted that in recent years, the Gezhouba Dam has dedicated great efforts to the protection of Chinese sturgeons and other cherished fish species in the Yangtze River. The construction of the Gezhouba Dam had once challenged the survival of the Chinese sturgeon. In 1982, the Gezhouba Dam established the Chinese Sturgeon Research Institute, which was later taken over by the Three Gorges Corporation, with both sides actively building a modern conservation path for the sturgeon through a combination of measures such as artificial breeding, stocking and release, and the establishment of nature reserves.

"The successful construction and management of Gezhouba Dam has provided valuable experience and played a role in fostering talent for the design, construction, and operation of the Three Gorges Project and other super dams. Practice has proved that the Chinese are capable of building and managing large water projects on the Yangtze River," Xiang said.

A view of Gezhouba Dajiang Hydropower Plant 
Photo: Liu Hengsheng/Courtesy of Three Gorges Corporation

A view of Gezhouba Dajiang Hydropower Plant Photo: Liu Hengsheng/Courtesy of Three Gorges Corporation

Maintenance of the No.20 generator unit of Gezhouba Hydropower Plant. Photo: Ren Zhiqiang/Courtesy of Three Gorges Corporation

Maintenance of the No.20 generator unit of Gezhouba Hydropower Plant. Photo: Ren Zhiqiang/Courtesy of Three Gorges Corporation

A view of floodwater being discharged from Gezhouba Dam. Photo: Wang Xubo/ Courtesy of Three Gorges Corporation

A view of floodwater being discharged from Gezhouba Dam. Photo: Wang Xubo/ Courtesy of Three Gorges Corporation

Three Gorges Cascade Dispatch and Communication Center Photo: Lin Xiaoyi/GT

Three Gorges Cascade Dispatch and Communication Center Photo: Lin Xiaoyi/GT




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