Survey combs reservoirs, sluices, dikes nationwide to identify risks in facilities
China has identified risks in its water resources management facilities as it prepares to cope with flooding in some major river basins this year, according to the Ministry of Water Resources.
In a national survey of flood and drought risks, the ministry combed 97,000 reservoirs, 78,000 flood control sluices, 315,000 kilometers of dikes and 98 flood detention areas.
Aside from learning about the general condition of these facilities, a series of risks have been identified, said Zheng Shichen, an official with the ministry's Dam Safety Management Center.
Some reservoirs, for example, have seen flood control capabilities damaged due to previous deluges that overloaded their intended limits, he said. A number of earth and stone dams with cracks were found to be leaking.
"Some reservoir dams have inadequate safety monitoring and management facilities," Zheng said.
He said the ministry will use both engineering and other methods to eliminate safety hazards in 9,385 small reservoirs.
While measures will be taken to reinforce some facilities, others will be emptied if the risks can't be resolved before flood season, he said.
This year, the ministry plans to strengthen 3,500 small-sized reservoirs found to have problems. A total of 3 billion yuan ($431 million) from the central government has been transferred to local governments for reinforcement work on 1,890 facilities.
China's flood season began on March 24, eight days earlier than usual. So far, the flood control situation this year has been tougher than in previous years, said Shang Quanmin, an official with the ministry's department of flood and drought control.
"Torrential rains in some regions in the southern part of the country swelled water levels in 50 rivers in Jiangxi, Hunan, Fujian, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region above their danger marks, 40 percent higher than the average for the same period over the past 10 years," he said.
Forecasts show that the country will experience more frequent regional and periodic drought and flooding this year, with an increase in extreme weather events.
In the majority of regions, flood season had already begun by May. Heavier than usual rainfall is expected to fall in the basins of the Haihe, Pearl, Songhua and Liaohe rivers, as well as the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, resulting in more severe flooding than normal.
The ministry has organized flood-control drills in some river basins.
Liu Weiping, vice-minister of water resources, attended the drill for the Songhua River on Wednesday.
It involved the testing of flood forecasting, the flood control operation of key reservoirs, flood detention areas, and other command procedures for emergency river basin responses, the ministry said in a news release on Friday.