According to the Reuters, as China is reporting flood damage, the role of the Three Gorges – the dam designed to tame the Yangtze – became a controversial topic.
In the wake of heavy rains that have lasted for days, the Chinese government says the world’s largest hydroelectric dam project can help reduce flood peaks, minimize economic losses, reduce deaths, and emergency evacuation. .
However, observers argue that the record high water levels on the Yangtze River and the large lakes seem to be raising concerns over whether the Three Gorges Dam is capable of fulfilling its designed function.
“One of the main reasons for the construction of the Three Gorges Dam is for flood control, but in less than 20 years after it was completed, we witnessed the highest flood level since (China started) statistics. in history, ”said Emeritus professor David Shankman of the University of Alabama (USA). Mr. Shankman raised doubts whether the Three Gorges really prevented serious flooding.
Mr. Ye Jianchun, Vice Minister of China’s Ministry of Water Resources yesterday said the schedule of flood discharge from the reservoir, especially the Three Gorges lake, was effective in flood control.
The operator of the Three Gorges Dam over the weekend said that water discharge in the downstream has been halved since July 6, “being effective in reducing the speed and water levels in the middle and lower reaches of the Yang River Death “.
The total volume of flood water stored has now reached 88% of the total volume of the reservoir.
However, in areas along the Yangtze, major tributaries and lakes such as Dong Dinh and Ba Duong lakes, the water level has exceeded the record.
Expert Fan Xiao, a geologist, said the storage capacity at Tam Hiep is less than 9% of the average flood water.
“It can only partially and temporarily prevent floods in the upstream areas, but it is difficult to prevent floods caused by heavy rains in the middle and lower Yangtze rivers,” Fan said.
Fan said the Three Gorges and large dam projects could even make flooding worse by changing the sediment flow in the Yangtze. The power generation needs of projects can also reduce flood control.
Professor Shankman said the normal Three Gorges dam will be able to assist in reducing floods, but in extreme weather conditions, it can become vulnerable.
According to the Reuters