The budget for the construction of the Three Gorges Dam in 2002 is US$1.8bn, the highest yearly amount so far, Xinhua reported. Half of the total US$906m will be used to build the ‘hinge’ project and to relocate people from the reservoir area. Some 147,300 people are to be moved above the 135-metre water level; once relocation gets under way cleaning of the reservoir bottom will begin.
The hinge project is divided into stages, the first two of which will take place in May: breaking the coffer dam to let water into the lower reach and experimental operation of the ship lock without water. Later in the year, the ship lock will be tested with water and finally the water diversion channel will be dammed.