It generates around 2% of China's total electrical power demand.
In 1931, more than 300K people were killed by floods.
In 1954 and 1998, 3K+ perished in each year.
By 1992, enough political support had been assembled for the project to be approved.
The groundbreaking was in Dec 1994, though it wasn't until 1997 that the first concrete was poured.
The price tag has run more than $30 billion USD.
Choking off the sedimentary flow of the river reduces the available fertile silt required by farmland downstream, and increases risk of flooding.
This despite the risks and challenges for the people of China - especially the more than 55 million people who live along the Yangtze downstream.
CCP officials are downplaying risk, because that's what they do.
Now to the point of this thread - extrapolating the geopolitical/supply chain impact of failure of Three Gorges Dam.
The watershed of the Yangtze is broadly divided into the Upper, Middle, and Lower Reaches.
Each reach is an industrial powerhouse, with specific economic and military significance.
As China's west-facing #BeltandRoad gateway, Chongqing plays a critical role in connecting the Yangtze to Central Asia and Europe via rail - the "New Silk Road."
It connects cargo to China's massive central/eastern industrial base via the Yangtze River's container-on-ship service.
This subsidized, shorter routing cuts transit time to Wuhan from Europe by 10-14 days.
Trucks travelled to Chongqing, with cargo moving to Europe on the CXE.
At Chongqing, all ocean-bound exports to/from western China are consolidated, numbering more than 1,000,000 containers/yr.
And while rail is the primary mode to achieve this, it is the freight carrying capacity of the Yangtze that makes the project possible.
313km downriver from the dam sits Wuhan at the border of the Lower Reach.
It's the most important interior city in China and a critical military, manufacturing, and tech hub.
Zero+5, the major industrial city of Yueyang (5.5 mil people) will sit 5m underwater.
Zero+10 hours, Wuhan (11 mil people) will face flooding of 6-8m in all major industrial and port zones.
Zero+24 hours, Shanghai's neighboring city of Nanjing will see its port crippled.
Failure of the Three Gorges Dam would annihilate the entire logistics infrastructure of central China.
But what happens if the dam naturally fails due to excessive water and engineering flaws?
How does China respond, and how do foreign companies recover manufacturing capacity?
The rescue and recovery efforts will be enormous, taking months to complete, and only after the waters recede.
Peak water levels may not crest until August...and Yangtze ports are already slowed.
Recall, China represents 28% of all manufacturing output - globally. More than half of that is in the YREB.
15% of the world's production would go offline in 24 hours.
Food imports - a critical item for China - would be slowed as refrigerated containers are bottlenecked.
More manufacturers will offshore from China to SE Asia, creating more chokepoints.
The CCP will not be able to keep subsidizing production in attempt to keep the economy growing.
African Swine Fever rages on.
Famine will follow without huge imports of protein from the US, Europe, and S. America.
Additionally, given that 2% of China's electricity is produced by the dam, recovery of the industrial base in the YREB would be crippled due to energy shortfalls.
And...it gets worse.
It is thus a certainty that a failure of the dam will be painted as enemy action - likely pointing the finger at the US and/or Taiwan (recall #26).
Harrassment of US and allied naval assets, wargames involving intermediate-range ballistic missiles, rhetoric aimed at Taiwan, etc.
This will spill over into major disruptions of the East and South China Seas.
As with COVID-19, the system will buckle.
All of these factors combined will nearly guarantee open conflict between the US and China.
It would be among the most horrific humanitarian crises in memory, triggering a cascade effect of famine, war, and economic depression that will threaten global peace.