Home News ESA data ascertain water flows through China’s Three Gorges dam

ESA data ascertain water flows through China’s Three Gorges dam

The waters behind the World’s largest dam – China’s Three Gorges project on the Yangtze River, have risen to a level of 135 metres since the sluice gates were first closed in early June, and in August Three Gorges is due to generate its first commercial hydroelectricity. The Three Gorges project is set to create a new 600-km-long body of water on the face of the 21st century Earth: the thick concrete dam walls stand 190 metres tall and already they hold back an estimated 10 billion cubic metres of water. More than 600,000 people have had to abandon their homes to the rising reservoir, and as many again will have to relocate before the waters reach their final planned level of 175 metres.

Proba (Project for on Board Autonomy) is a micro-satellite the size of a small box, launched by ESA in October 2001 and operated from ESA’s Redu Ground Station (Belgium). It routinely provides scientists with detailed environmental images .This 18-metre resolution image was acquired by the CHRIS sensor onboard Proba on 30 July 2003. Together with the scanning and manoeuvring capabilities of the spacecraft it supports Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) measurements used in land, sea and atmospheric observations. Water churns through diversion holes in the dam, imaged by ESA’s Proba satellite. IMany environmentalists have campaigned against the €20 billion-plus. Three Gorges project due to the drowning of multiple cultural heritage sites, the fear that reservoir would collect industrial pollution and sewage that cannot be washed to the sea, and the risk posed to downstream populations if the dam should ever break. But the Chinese government said the project will tame the flood-prone Yangtze River and generate much-needed electricity for economic development.