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Three Gorges Dam Controls Biggest Flood Crest of Yangtze River

The Three Gorges Dam has successfully controlled the biggest flood crest on the Yangtze River this year, officials said on Tuesday.

The Three Gorges Reservoir reduced the discharge of floodwater to 44,000 cubic meters per second on Tuesday morning from the previous 48,000 cubic meters, to protect the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.

Meanwhile, the water level in the reservoir rose from 144.03 meters at midday on Monday to 145.19 meters at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

"The flood crest passed the Three Gorges Dam smoothly," said Cao Guangjing, deputy general manager of the China Yangtze Three Gorges Project Corporation (CTGPC).

Cao said it was the first time the dam had to control flood crest since construction of the world's largest dam was completed on May 20 last year.

The inflow was 50,000 cubic meters per second on Tuesday, 2,500cubic meters less than Monday's peak.

It was earlier predicted that inflow would top 56,700 cubic meters per second on Tuesday as more rains were forecast. However, winds dispersed the rain clouds on Monday afternoon, said Cao.

Officials said the two-way traffic on the Three Gorges ship lock that was halted at 8:00 a.m. on Monday might resume on Wednesday evening.

Water levels on the middle and lower reaches of the river were on the rise, said Cheng Haiyun, general engineer of the Yangtze River Hydrological Bureau.

Hubei Province, where the Three Gorges project is located, is on high alert. The provincial government had ordered a round-the-clock monitoring of the levees.

The Three Gorges Reservoir is capable of holding 39.3 billion cubic meters of water, including 22.15 billion cubic meters extra in the flood season when it reaches its 175 meters.

At more than 6,300 km long and falling 5,400 meters from west to east, the flood-prone Yangtze River is the largest in China and the third largest in the world.

Most of the flood-prone areas are located at the middle and lower reaches, in economically developed regions that are home to 15 million people and contain 1.5 million hectares of farmland. Four major floods have occurred there in the 20th Century, with the most recent in 1998 killing 1,526 people.

(Xinhua News Agency August 1, 2007)

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