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China's Three Gorges Dam buffers worst flood in decades

07-21-2010 09:40 BJT Special Report:Rainstorm Batters Large Parts of China |

YICHANG, Hubei, July 20 (Xinhua) -- The Three Gorges Dam on Yangtze River, the country's largest, is offering a buffer for the worst flood in decades as it blocks more than 40 percent of upstream water.

Flood waters are sluiced with the water outflux monitored at 40,000 cubic meters per second at Three Gorges Dam in Yichang, central China's Hubei Province, July 20, 2010. China's Three Gorges Dam project on the Yangtze River stood its biggest flood-control test at 8 a.m. Tuesday since completion, as the flow on the river's upper reaches topped 70,000 cubic meters a second. All ferry services were halted at the Three Gorges Dam on Monday, and would be resumed after the influx decreased to 45,000 cubic meters per second.(Xinhua/Xia Lin)
Flood waters are sluiced with the water outflux monitored at 40,000 cubic meters per 
second at Three Gorges Dam in Yichang, central China's Hubei Province, July 20, 2010. 
China's Three Gorges Dam project on the Yangtze River stood its biggest flood-control 
test at 8 a.m. Tuesday since completion, as the flow on the river's upper 
reaches topped 70,000 cubic meters a second. All ferry services were halted 
at the Three Gorges Dam on Monday, and would be resumed after the influx 
decreased to 45,000 cubic meters per second.(Xinhua/Xia Lin)
The world's largest hydropower station was holding up against its first major flood-control test Tuesday, said officials of the China Three Gorges Corporation.

The flow on the river's upper reaches topped 70,000 cubic meters a second Tuesday -- 20,000 cubic meters more than the flow during the 1998 floods that killed 4,150 people and the highest level since the dam was completed last year.

The flood peak at the Three Gorges Dam at 8 a.m. was slightly below the record high of 70,800 cubic meters per second in 1981, a spokesman with the corporation said.

"Compared to 1998, the biggest difference is the Three Gorges Dam. Without it, thousands of soldiers and rescuers would have been needed to fight the floods," said Yuan Jie, director of the Three Gorges Cascade Dispatching Center of China Three Gorges Cooperation.

"There are three reasons why the dam is withstanding the enormous water pressure, which are the precise monitoring systems, the huge reservoir and the good decisions made by the corporation," said Chen Fei, general manager of the Three Gorges Corporation.

The upper reaches of Yangtze River covers an area of one million square kilometers, 60 percent of which was covered by the Three Gorges monitoring system and another 20 percent was covered by systems of the Dadu and Yalong rivers.

"The peak flow is high, but it has not exceeded the designed capacity of 100,000 cubic meters of water per second," said Cao Guangjing, the corporation's chairman.

The peak flow was greater than in 1998 but the peak period was shorter so far, Cao said.

The discharged amount had been kept under 40,000 cubic meters per second, which means the dam blocked 43 percent of upstream water and prevented severe flooding in the lower reaches, Cao said.

The Three Gorges Corporation had reduced the reservoir's water level to below 146 meters before the raining season. The reservoir has a capacity of more than 20 billion cubic meters as water level can rise to as high as 175 meters.

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