CHINA / Regional

South China province on flood alert
Updated: 2006-04-28 09:45

Southern China's Guangdong province is on alert for flooding after heavy rains pounded the area.

The local government has taken action to strengthen reservoirs under threat from rising waters after torrential downpours across the province Wednesday and Thursday, Xinhua news agency said.

Northern, central and southeastern parts of Guangdong saw daily rainfalls of 60 to 95 millimeters (2.4 to 3.8 inches) in some places, Xinhua quoted the local meteorological observatory saying.

Forecasts show heavy rains will hit again with strong winds and possibly hail in the next two days, said the observatory.

The province has 6,732 reservoirs, with a total volume of more than 40 billion cubic meters (52 billion cubic yards).

The provincial government has urged local authorities to step up flood-prevention measures and ensure the safety of reservoirs and people, according to Xinhua.

China's water reservoirs are struggling to cope with higher-than-average rainfall this year.

Reservoirs Face Threat

Across the country, more rainfall has been reported in major rivers in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2005.

Problems with China's 85,000 reservoirs lie in the way they have been managed, said Wang Shucheng, minister of water resources, at a national flood control meeting on Tuesday in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province.

The ability of small hydropower stations, which have seen rapid development in the past few years, to withstand floods is also a grave concern due to the lack of proper management, said Wang.

Wang urged local authorities to bear the responsibility of flood control by laying out plans for flood prevention and control and reinforcing supervision.

Statistics from the Water Resources Ministry show that water in the main branches of the Yangtze River, the Yellow River and the Huaihe River, China's three major rivers, saw a 10 to 30 percent increase in the first three months, over the same period last year.

Large reservoirs in 21 provinces and regions, especially in Northwest China's Qinghai, and Northeast China's Jilin and Liaoning, have reported higher water levels than last year.