Hangzhou reservoir discharge impacts 300,000 people, with 12 villages submerged

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/8 17:18:42 Last Updated: 2020/7/9 12:26:08

Water gushes out from spillways at Xin'an River Reservoir in east China's Zhejiang Province, July 7, 2020. The Xin'an River Reservoir, an important flood control project in the upper reaches of the Qiantang River, opened spillways for the first time in nine years on Tuesday to lower the crest of the floods. This is also the seventh time spillways of the reservoir were opened to release floodwaters since it was built in the 1950s. (Xinhua/Weng Xinyang)

About 300,000 people in Jiande, Hangzhou have been affected by flooding, and it is estimated that roughly 124 million yuan ($17.7 million) in economic losses have been caused as of Wednesday evening, after all nine gates of Xin'anjiang Reservoir, also known as the Thousand Island Lake, in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province were opened for the first time ever on Wednesday morning to discharge record-breaking flood waters. 

On Wednesday evening, water levels in the reservoir remained at 108.4 meters, 1.9 meters higher than the flooding threshold. 

About 300,000 people in eight counties and towns in Jiande have been affected by the flooding, including 9,060 people who have been relocated. Since all nine gates were opened, 12 villages have been submerged by floodwaters, affected crop areas have reached 9,800 mu (653 hectares), and 41 companies have been directly impacted. 

Preliminary statistics indicate economic losses in agriculture, industry and mining, private property, infrastructure and public facilities total roughly 124 million yuan. 

On Wednesday morning, the reservoir's water reached a high of 108.45 meters, making it 0.08 meters higher than the second highest level in history (108.37 meters in 1999, when eight gates were opened to discharge water). The reservoir was last discharged due to flood waters in 2011. 

The huge amount of water discharged affected areas nearby and preventative measures were taken by local authority. 

One hour after the reservoir discharged its flood water, the water level in Jiande area rose to the second floor of the residential buildings, as the drainage pipes across the city flew backwards. 

As of 6 am on Wednesday, Hangzhou had relocated more than 43,800 people and opened 937 make-shift shelters across the city. Emergency materials, including 1,937 boats, 1,117 water pumps and 2,300 life jackets were provided to local residents to combat the region's flooding. 

481 rescue teams with more than 20,000 rescue workers have participated in the rescue operations. The city has also sent social media messages to over 10 million local residents to warn them about dangerous and flooded areas. 

The city's headquarters for flood control also reminded residents that live alongside the rivers to prepare for emergencies and think about their safety before going out. In addition, fishing and playing near rivers are prohibited, and walking in deep water or on old bridges and structures should be avoided. The city's motorists should also slow down and avoid driving in flooded and collapsed areas. 

Peng Hong, a member of the flood discharge expert team of Xin'anjiang Reservoir, suggested that parents should take care of their children if they haven't developed a strong consciousness of safety and educate them to stay away from dangerous areas. 

Peng noted that all kinds of water activities should be temporarily stopped. For some construction projects, including those near the waterside, safety should not be neglected while firms try to catch up with their schedules.

Since Hangzhou entered its plum rain season on May 29, the city's total areal precipitation has reached 710 millimeters, 2.7-fold the usual amount. 

The Hangzhou weather bureau forecasted heavy rain or storms in Chun'an, Jiande, Tonglu and Lin'an in Huangzhou until Friday. 

Global Times

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