Three Gorges Dam Will Improve Climate, Citrus Production

Three Gorges Dam Will Improve Climate, Citrus Production

Chinese climate and environmental protection experts believe that the construction of the Three Gorges Dam will help improve the climate of its surrounding areas and will be highly conducive to the planting of citrus fruits.

The area around the Yangtze River project has a mild climate. In extreme weather in winter temperatures there are not less than five degrees below zero centigrade, while the yearly average temperature is above 15 degrees centigrade. In addition, the area's humidity can be kept at around 80 percent.

Besides, the dam surroundings have plentiful precipitation. All these ecological conditions are suited to planting citrus fruits, a major income source for local farmers.

But what changes will occur to the local climate after the world's largest water-control project is completed? The Chinese Government has organized experts to make a long-term and thorough study of the changes that may take place in the area after the Three Gorges Reservoir is completed.

Experts found that construction of the reservoir may help winter become warmer and summer cooler in the area. After the reservoir retains water the monthly average temperature will rise by 0.3 to one degree centigrade in winter and spring, while falling by 0.9 to 1.2 degrees centigrade in summer.

The improvement of the local climate will promise an even brighter prospect for citrus planting.

Construction of the reservoir will submerge 74,000 mu (4,933 ha) of citrus orchards, 6.7 percent of a total of 1.3 million mu (about 867,000 ha). However, the experts believed that an additional 1.05 million mu of citrus orchards can be developed in the reservoir surroundings because of the more favorable climate.

They figured out the space by calculating that if the reservoir is designed to hold water 175 meters in depth, sweet oranges to the east of the reservoir can grow at a height of 450 m above sea level, and mandarin oranges can grow at a height of 680 m above sea level; while to the west of the reservoir sweet oranges can grow at a height of 600 m above sea level, and mandarin oranges at 800 m.

At present, the local government and people are planting new citrus fruits on a large scale. The central government has also invested heavily in this endeavour.

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