||Water is indispensable for the preservation and maintenance of all forms of life on earth. Access to water and especially safe water constitutes a fundamental human need as well as a basic human right. Water is also perceived as the basic element of human culture and is an important part of the ecosystem. Therefore, the survival of mankind depends upon the construction of dams and the management of water resources in order to achieve a sustainable economic development. As a consequence, big dams have become indispensable elements for a country’s social and economic development, especially for developing countries where the majority of dams are built.|
In China, the development of dams can be traced back to 1949, when social development and modernization hands in hands entered a new phase. In the pursuit of long term development objectives, the Chinese government undertook large scale infrastructure development projects such as river dredging, irrigation and hydropower development. However, these gigantic constructions did not bring the expected economic benefits; instead they resulted in inefficient and dangerous water reservoirs due to poor technology and financial issues. Therefore, after the 1978 “economic reform and opening up”, the construction of dams shifted from an emphasis on quantity to a focus on quality in order to avoid the recurrence of dangerous water reservoirs. In addition, after 1990, we can witness the using of state of the art technologies in the construction of dams and reservoirs. In the present research, we will attempt to understand how the Chinese government throughout trials and errors has gained a complete expertise in the construction of dams and reservoirs.
The construction of dams has its pros and cons; nowadays, environmental movements combined with fear of negative externalities, give rise to increasing oppositions to the building of large dams and water reservoirs. Through the conceptual delineation of dams and economic development, we will attempt to elaborate the theoretical framework of state and society in China, and by this token provide a thorough understanding of why the country that possesses the highest amount of dams is still not able to meet its domestic demand for water, we will also enquire whether there is the possibility to move towards the construction of environmental friendly dams (also coined green dams).