Three Gorges Dam increases water discharge

Updated: 2011-05-11 17:43
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YICHANG, Hubei - China's Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest water control facility, has discharged more water to help counter a severe spring drought in central China's Hubei province.

As of Wednesday morning, the Three Gorges Dam had discharged about 4 hundred million cubic meters of water since Saturday, lowering the water level of the dam by 0.7 meters, said Wang Hai of the dam's construction and operation management bureau.

The dam has accelerated its water discharge to about 7,000 cubic meters per second, about 1,500 to 2,000 cubic meters faster than the inflow speed.

Not only is the action aimed to help with the fight against drought plaguing the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, but also ensure shipping safety, said Zheng Shouren, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the chief engineer with the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee.

"If there was no Three Gorges Dam, the drought would be worse and the shipping on the Yangtze would be very hazardous," Zheng said.

Known as China's "land of a thousand lakes", Hubei is suffering from a prolonged drought.

About 400,000 people in the province are without drinking water as a result of the drought, and approximately 13 million mu (about 870,000 hectares) of farmland has been affected by it, according to the Hubei provincial agricultural department.