Floods forecast for Yangtze downstream of Dongting

2024-07-01 10:19:32China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Water levels in lake up by 6.5 meters since mid-June, Hunan authorities say

Flooding has been forecast for the Yangtze River downstream of Dongting Lake, one of China's largest freshwater lakes, with some sections to see water levels prompt warnings for over 10 days, according to the Ministry of Water Resources.

The Yangtze River experienced its first flood of the year on Friday, and three stations in the middle and lower reaches of its main stream issued water level warnings at 6 am on Sunday, the ministry said.

Ninety rivers in the Yangtze River Basin have seen flooding recently due to heavy rainfall, and water levels in Dongting and Poyang lakes — the country's two largest freshwater lakes, which sit on the river's middle and lower reaches — have risen quickly, it said.

The flooding will have a wide impact and be long-lasting, the ministry said.

Its Changjiang Water Resources Commission has reduced the discharge flow of the Three Gorges Dam from 24,000 cubic meters per second to 14,000 cubic meters per second to reduce flood pressure downstream.

It will continue to limit the flow of the Three Gorges Dam to allow flooding in the river basin to subside and reduce the time that water remains above warning levels.

All the dams at Dongting and Poyang lakes have been put into use, the ministry said.

The ministry raised emergency responses to flooding to Level III inthe provinces of Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei and Hunan on Friday, and sent four additional working teams to the front lines to provide guidance in flood relief efforts.

In Hubei, the ferry company in Wuhan, the provincial capital, has suspended all services in the Yangtze and Hanjiang rivers since Saturday due to rising waters.

The Hunan Provincial Department of Water Resources said the first flood of the year in Dongting Lake formed at 9 am on Sunday, with the water level at the Chenglingji hydrological station surpassing the warning level of 33 meters. The lake links four major rivers in Hunan to the Yangtze River.

The province has recorded accumulated rainfall of 819 millimeters in the current flood season, 43.2 percent more than the average for this time of the year. Water levels in Dongting Lake have increased by 6.5 meters since mid-June, with warning levels triggered at 14 stations in the area, according to the department.

The lake now covers an area of 2,570 square kilometers, 1,110 sq km more than on June 17, it said.

The central and northern regions of Hunan are expected to see continuing rainfall for the next week, with water levels at Dongting Lake expected to continue rising.

Despite the heavy rainfall, 14 electricity workers from power stations run by the Linxiang power supply company of the State Grid in Hunan spent seven hours on Saturday erecting lights along a 40 km section of the Yangtze River, Hunan Daily reported.

To allow flood prevention work to continue at night, emergency lights were erected every 50 meters. The workers, with an average age of 24, set up 820 lights and finished the task an hour ahead of schedule.

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