Three Gorges Dam braces for severe floods

This coming Thursday the Three Gorges reservoir in central China’s Hubei Province is expected to see the most severe round of floods since it started to hold water in 2003.

According to a forecast by the Changjiang Water Resources Commission of the Ministry of Water Resources, the inbound flow of water is expected to reach more than 74,000 cubic meters per second after continuous heavy rain battered the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

The Yangtze River, China’s longest waterway, recorded the fifth flood of the year in its upper reaches on Monday.

The Three Gorges project is a multi-functional water-control system, consisting of a 2,309-meter-long and 185-meter-high dam, a five-tier ship lock on the north and south, and 34 turbo-generators with a combined generating capacity of 22.5 million kilowatts.

Southwest China’s Chongqing municipality, which is located along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, upgraded its flood-control response to Level I on Tuesday, the highest rung in the four-tier emergency response system for floods.

The upcoming flood is expected to hit the city proper of Chongqing from Tuesday to Thursday, according to the municipal water resources authorities.

Sichuan Province raises its emergency response to Level I for first time amid grim situation

Sichuan province raised its flood-control response to Level I at 5 am on Tuesday, the highest of its four-tier emergency response system.

This is the first time the province has ever triggered a Level I response for floods, according to Sichuan’s flood control and drought relief headquarters.

Sichuan faced a grim flood situation, with the Ya’an city section of the Qingyi River, seeing its worst flooding in a century, the headquarters said.

The entire Qingyi River basin, along with the Minjiang River-a Yangtze tributary-and the Dadu River were expected to exceed their guaranteed water levels, the headquarters added.

Guaranteed water levels are the maximum amount of water that a dam can hold before it overflows, leading to possible damage to the structure.

When he approached the Leshan Giant Buddha on Tuesday morning, Zhang Xudong, a middle-aged resident of Leshan, Sichuan, was shocked to see that floodwater had surged past the toes of the 71-meter-high statue, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

According to the management committee of the attraction, it is the first time since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 that the statue, at the juncture of the Qingyi, Minjiang and Dadu rivers, has been submerged to the toes.

Sichuan has been lashed by excessive rainfall in the past month. From 9 am on Monday to 9 am on Tuesday, four cities and six counties alone experienced rainfall ranging from 115 to 230 millimeters.

Sichuan’s flood control and drought relief headquarters on Monday upgraded its flood-control response to Level II, from Level III initiated on Saturday.

The upgraded response was the result of excessive rainfall that swelled rivers. The water levels of 32 rivers in the province exceeded their warning lines by midday on Monday.

In the aftermath of incessant rainfall in the upper reaches of the Tuojiang River, which flows into the Yangtze, the Neijiang section of the Tuojiang River witnessed its largest flood peak since 1981 in the wee hours of Tuesday.

At 1 am on Tuesday, the Dengyingyan Hydrological Station in Zizhong county in Neijiang had a water level of nearly 336 meters, exceeding the warning and guaranteed water levels by 4.2 and 0.7 meters, respectively.

To keep away from the flood peak, 133,654 people had been evacuated in Neijiang by 11 pm on Monday, according to the Neijiang municipal government information office.

The Jialing River, which connects to the Yangtze, has been flooded due to recent heavy rainfall.

It is estimated that the peak water level at the Cuntan Hydrological Station on the main stream of the Yangtze in Chongqing will exceed its guaranteed water level by 4 to 5 meters on Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management.

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Aug. 19, 2020