Three Gorges dam faces major flood test

Floodwater is discharged through the Three Gorges Dam in central China's Hubei Province

China‘s Three Gorges dam faces its biggest test this week as rain storms threaten to swell upstream water levels beyond those that preceded the Yangtze’s last devastating flood in 1998.

Flood control is one of the major objectives of the 16m tonne concrete barrier, which was pushed through by the government despite concerns about the environmental and social impact. Torrential downpours, which have claimed at least 146 lives since the start of the month, have created the most serious challenge since the world’s biggest hydropower plant was completed two years ago. “The levels of this flooding will be higher than the historic floods of 1954 and 1998,” Wei Shanzhong, the head of the flood control and drought administration office for the Yangtze river, told China Central TV.

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