Poyang Lake and the Three Gorges Dam

poyang_lakebedChina’s largest fresh water lake, the Poyang , recently – if reluctantly – gave up a 400 year old archeological treasure.  The remnants of a granite bridge from the Ming Dynasty  emerged as the lake’s water levels receded to historic lows.

The lake, which has covered as many as 1,740 square miles, has been reduced to less than one-third its original size due to persistent drought conditions and the impact of the Three Gorges Dam project.

The combined stresses of the drought and the dams alteration of river flow is threatening the plankton, fish, and the way of life of local residents who derive their income by fishing these waters – most for many generations.

The situation reached a crisis point in 2012 which required the Chinese government to air-drop millet, maize, and shrimp over Poyang Lake to feed wildlife which were at risk due to the drought conditions.

According to the People’s Government of Jiangxi Province, the conditions have exposed much of Poyang’s lake bed and is challenging the viability of the ecosystem.

In human terms, the decimated income streams are made worse by water shortages affecting the region.