Three Gorges Dam helps to control widespread flooding in China

China’s Three Gorges Dam, which spans the Yangtze River in Yichang, Hubei Province, has passed the greatest test of its flood control capabilities since its completion in 2009 as the structure played a critical role this week in controlling massive flooding.

Flood waters with speeds of 70,000 cubic meters per second hit the Three Gorges Dam this week, reports indicate. Government officials said this is 20,000 cubic meters per second more than the flood that killed 4,150 people in 1998.

As the Three Gorges Dam reached its peak, the gates successfully held water in the huge reservoir, while releasing a smaller amount, to avoid it surging down river, NTDTV reported.

China’s Yangtze Power Co. operates the 22,400-MW Three Gorges Dam. The dam wall is made of concrete and is about 2,309 meters long and 185 meters high.

In a news conference Wednesday, Liu Ning, vice minister of water resources and secretary general of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief headquarters, said the Three Gorges Dam and other structures were critical in controlling the floods.

Rains and flooding have killed at least 701 people and left at least 347 missing in China, government data indicated Wednesday. Data from the State Flood Control and Drought Relief agency and the Civil Affairs Ministry indicate direct economic loss topped $20.9 billion, wire services reported.

Government information indicated flood waters inundated 27 provinces and municipalities, affecting 110 million people and forcing 8.1 million to relocate, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua reported. Water also flooded more than 17 million acres of farmland and destroyed 645,000 structures.

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