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Reservoirs along Yangtze River prove worth in reducing floods

By HOU LIQIANG/FENG ZHIWEI | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-08 09:30

Reservoirs along Yangtze River prove worth in reducing floods

Trees are submerged by a flood in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, on Friday.[YANG BO/CHINA NEWS SERVICE]

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 Xiangjiang 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 Chenglingji, 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.

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