Three Gorges Dam stable, prevents out-of-control floods: operator

By Shan Jie and Zhao Juecheng Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/19 21:43:40

Photo taken on July 18, 2020 shows the Three Gorges Dam opening the floodgates to discharge the floodwater on the Yangtze River in central China's Hubei Province. The Three Gorges reservoir in central China's Hubei Province has seen the second flood along the Yangtze River in 2020, the largest one arriving at the reservoir so far this year. At 8 a.m. on Saturday, the inbound flow of water reached 61,000 cubic meters per second while the outbound flow was 33,000 cubic meters per second, with 45 percent of floodwater withheld in the reservoir, according to the China Three Gorges Corporation.Photo:Xinhua

The Three Gorges Dam has been functioning to ease flood prevention pressure in the Yangtze River's middle and downstream areas, the company that operates the dam told the Global Times over the weekend, refuting frequent rumors and accusations from overseas media regarding the dam's condition, such as its distortion or inability to reduce flooding.

The Three Gorges Dam, located in Central China's Hubei Province, on Saturday morning successfully handled the worst flood this year, maintaining stable operations, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

At 8 am on Saturday, the Three Gorges reservoir saw an inflow of 61,000 cubic meters per second and an outflow 33,000 cubic meters per second, stopping 45 percent of the flooding. The water level has reached 160.17 meters. 

Meanwhile, the Three Gorges hub has been running at full output with a combined generating capacity of 22.5 million kilowatts, as the reservoir sees its water level rising after several rounds of flooding.

The Three Gorges project is a multifunctional water control system, consisting of a 2,309-meter-long and 185-meter-high dam, a five-tier ship lock, and 34 hydropower turbo-generators.

This year's floods have hit several provincial regions hard, causing more than 20 million people to be stricken by the disaster and more than 1.76 million to be relocated, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management.

By Friday, the Three Gorges project has applied three times, during this flood season, its flood prevention function and stopped 6.6 billion cubic meters of water, equaling to approximately the size of 470 West Lake's in Hangzhou, read a statement the Three Gorges Dam Corporation sent to the Global Times on Saturday.

During the floods, the Three Gorges Reservoir has applied its functions of flood retention and flood peak reduction, according to the statement, which stopped water levels from surpassing safety guarantees at Chenglingji, the exit of Dongting Lake, and Hukou, the exit of Poyang Lake.

The dam has largely eased flood prevention pressure in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, which, without the Three Gorges project, would face an intensive situation to contain flooding.

The Three Gorges project has come into the spotlight recently. A Tuesday report from Reuters quoted a geographer as saying that "the Three Gorges Dam reservoir does not have the capacity to significantly affect the most severe floods."

However, the Three Gorges project's duty of flood prevention is mostly based in the Chenglingji region, which is located at the exit of Dongting Lake. With a reservoir capacity for floodwater at 22 billion cubic meters, it is designed to prevent huge floods in the upper stream of the Yangtze River with the Three Gorges Dam working significantly to prevent such a situation spiraling out of control, the Three Gorges Dam Corporation said in the statement. 

If flooding occurred via heavy rainfall in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the cities surrounding these reaches would have to mainly rely on their own flood drainage facilities. Under such circumstances, the Three Gorges Dam can still make a contribution by retaining and impounding water to ease the pressure on those cities.

Exaggerating the Three Gorges Dam's "distortion" has also been somewhat of a cliché for certain overseas media outlets. In response to this cliché, the statement from the company noted that currently, the Three Gorges Dam is running safely in a good condition. During the past few years, there has been no so-called distortion occurring, or any other noteworthy risks.

Newspaper headline: Three Gorges Dam stable: operator


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