Reser­voirs along Yangtze River prove worth in re­duc­ing floods

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By HOU LIQIANG houliqiang@chi­

Reser­voirs along the Yangtze River, in­clud­ing the Three Gorges Reser­voir, have played a big role in re­liev­ing flood pres­sure down­stream.

As down­pours con­tinue in Sichuan prov­ince, these reser­voirs have been ready for new floods com­ing down­stream, said flood con­trol au­thor­i­ties.

The rain­fall that lasted from June 22 to Mon­day resulted in floods in sev­eral ma­jor trib­u­taries in the mid­dle reaches of the Yangtze. The wa­ter level at the Chang­sha mon­i­tor­ing sta­tion in the Xi­ang jiang River reached a record 39.51 me­ters on Mon­day, higher than the pre­vi­ous record of 39.18 me­ters set by a mas­sive flood in 1998.

The flood caused great losses in worst hit Hu­nan prov­ince. In Ningx­i­ang county alone, 44 peo­ple have been de­clared dead or miss­ing after heavy down­pours that have pounded the county since June 22, lead­ing to the area’s worst nat­u­ral dis­as­ter in 60 years, lo­cal flood con­trol au­thor­i­ties said on Fri­day.

It also said about 815,000 peo­ple, or 56 per­cent of the county’s pop­u­la­tion, suf­fered prop­erty losses in the floods.

Peng Xin­huai, who sells suit­cases in Ningx­i­ang, put some of the suit­cases up on the sus­pended ceil­ing in his store on June 1 be­fore he left as wa­ter poured into his store.

When he came back the sec­ond day, how­ever, the metal roller shut­ter door of his store had been bro­ken and al­most scrunched.

“Even the sus­pended ceil­ing was wa­ter stained. The wa­ter level in the store reached up to 2 me­ters,” the man told Bei­jing News, adding that he lost suit­cases worth more than 200,000 yuan ($29,000).

Tang Kun­shi, a 60-year-old res­i­dent in Jingtu’an vil­lage in Ningx­i­ang, said it was the most se­vere flood he has ex­pe­ri­enced in his life. Three mo­tor­cy­cles and two re­frig­er­a­tor of Tang’s fam­ily were bro­ken after the flood in­un­dated the first floor of his two-story house, Tang said, adding that the house was even soaked in the 1998 flood.

The Three Gorges Reser­voir re­duced the dis­charge flow dur­ing the rain­fall process and other reser­voirs in the mid­dle and up­per reaches of Yangtze also helped in stor­ing and di­vert­ing the flood.

Were it not for these reser­voirs, the wa­ter level in Chengling ji, a key mon­i­tor­ing sta­tion along Yangtze, would be above its high­est safety level for an­other six days, the head­quar­ters said.

It also said the Three Gorges Reser­voir had stopped al­most 5 bil­lion cu­bic me­ters of wa­ter as of 8 am Thurs­day.

While the rain­fall in the mid­dle reaches of the Yangtze re­ceded, down­pours will strike Sichuan prov­ince and Chongqing in the up­per reaches with pre­cip­i­ta­tion from 100 to 140 mil­lime­ters, which will pos­si­bly re­sult in wa­ter dis­charges of up to 50,000 cu­bic me­ters per sec­ond into the Three Gorges, the head­quar­ters said.

It said it had asked the Three Gorges to in­crease its flow from 8,000 to 10,000 cu­bic me­ters per sec­ond on Thurs­day to give space for the com­ing flood, and the flow will be ad­justed daily based on the sit­u­a­tion.

Feng Zhi­wei in Chang­sha con­trib­uted to this story.


Trees are sub­merged by a flood in Nan­jing, Jiangsu prov­ince, on Fri­day.

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