By the time it was completed, the dam would, unfortunately, take 107 lives, many of them from the sometimes brutal heat of the desert environment they were working in, unintended consequences of an otherwise good public works project. But with its completion, the dam would put an end to many deadly floods in the area, and it would supply drinking water from the lake and electricity from the hydro-electric generators to millions of people in the surrounding states. But as incredible as this feat of engineering was, it is no longer the largest dam in the world. It is now eclipsed by the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in China. The Three Gorges Dam is 7,661 feet across at the top and rises 594 feet above its rock base. Construction on it began in 1994, and the body of the dam was completed in 2006, but it was not fully operational until 2012. Although the massive project is an engineering marvel, it is not without controversy. The 410-mile-long lake destabilized the cliffs surrounding the body of water, leading to dozens of deadly landslides. Moreover, the lake sits on top of two major fault lines, thus creating the possibility of a “reservoir-induced seismicity” that could trigger earthquakes.
This fear is not without validity. If you live in the United States, you may be aware of mild earthquakes that are caused in certain areas of our nation by the practice of fracking. The process of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” forces millions of gallons of water into the ground at high pressure in order to induce fracturing of the rock underground and thereby releasing various substances such as natural gas for capture and commercial use. And as you can imagine, the shifting of those pressures underground can have even larger impacts as one thing leads to another in a sort of domino effect, possibly setting off larger, more deadly earthquakes or sinkholes, or even causing health problems as toxic substances are released to the surface in inhabited areas or as they seep into our ground water, perhaps poisoning us as we extract that water or as it works up to the surface where we harness it for public consumption.
There are so many unintended consequences to our actions sometimes. Actions we take can have second and third order effects that positively or negatively affect people in ways that we did not expect, maybe even people that we don’t know. This is why it is so essential to have God working in our lives. He sees the bigger picture, and He knows so many things that we do not know and cannot know. If we yield to His guidance, though, He will ensure that we walk the correct path that is a blessing to others and does not cause unintended harm to others.
I pray that you will seek Him out today and every day for His guidance on how to live your life so that you can become a blessing to others.