Can renewable energy sources power the world?
Can renewable energy sources power the world?

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Can renewable energy sources power the world?

9.3 Social effects of hydroelectricity

The rising water behind China’s Three Gorges dam (Figure 18) submerged about 100 towns and displaced over a million people. It is estimated that during the second half of the twentieth century, some 10 million people were displaced by reservoirs in China alone.

But even for the people immediately affected, the building of dams can have very different consequences. For those living in a valley that will become a reservoir it means the loss of their family home, possibly their livelihood, and often their entire community. In contrast, for people living on a river that periodically overflows its banks, the barrage and embankments of a hydroelectric scheme can bring freedom at last from devastating floods.

Figure 18 The Three Gorges dam in the Yangtze in China is one mile long and 181 metres high, with an installed generating capacity of 18,000 Megawatts.

In the next section you look at what can be deduced from both the physical and social effects.


Take your learning further371

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses372.

If you are new to university level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. Find out Where to take your learning next?373 You could either choose to start with an Access courses374or an open box module, which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification.

Not ready for University study then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn375 and sign up to our newsletter376 to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371