Three Gorges Probe

Flood peak arrives at China’s Three Gorges Dam

(August 24, 2010) The Three Gorges dam is forced to stand tall in the face of severe flooding.

WUHAN, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) — The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze, China’s longest river, withstood the year’s second largest flood peak Tuesday afternoon amid heavy rain in its upper reaches.

Water flow into the reservoir of the dam reached 56,000 cubic meters per second at 2 p.m., the highest since the flood peak of 70,000 cubic meters per second reported on July 20, the Yangtze River Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said in a statement.

It said the dam took the edge off the fierce flow by holding back about 31,000 cubic meters of flood water per second, and discharging the rest.

The water level in the dam was 153.3 meters at 2 p.m., a rise of nearly 4 meters in 24 hours and well above the 145-meter flood alarm level, the statement said.

It said the water level was likely to top 160 meters later on Tuesday.

The water flow is expected to fall to 45,000 cubic meters per second on Wednesday and 35,000 cubic meters per second on Thursday.

Before the flow subsided, the Three Gorges Dam would hold back 8 billion cubic meters of water in total, the statement said.

The dam had slowed the flow of about 15 billion cubic meters of water in the previous four flood peaks since mid June, it said.

Shipping through the Three Gorges has been halted since 8 p.m. Monday.

Ship locks were closed after water flow into the reservoir exceeded 45,000 cubic meters per second.

Torrential rains have battered the upper reaches of the Yangtze last week, with rainfall in the catchment of Minjiang, Tuojiang and Jialing rivers, three Yangtze tributaries.

Due to heavy rains this summer, ship services through the Three Gorges Dam were suspended twice in July with the water flow peaking at 56,000 and 48,500 cubic meters per second respectively.

The Three Gorges Project is a multi-functional water control system built on the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze. With a 2,309-meter long dam, a five-tier ship lock system and 26 hydropower turbo-generators, its key roles include flood control, power generation, shipping and water supply.

Xinhua, August 24, 2010

Read the original story here.

Update: Flood peak safely passes China’s Three Gorges Dam, shipping service still halted

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