TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China announced that the third flood of the year hit the vaunted Three Gorges Dam on Sunday (July 26) and that it will peak on Tuesday (July 28).
On Sunday, China's state-run mouthpiece Xinhua announced that the "No. 3 Flood" of the year had been declared for the embattled Three Gorges Dam that day. By 2 p.m., the dam's reservoir recorded an inflow of 50,000 cubic meters per second, and it is expected to peak at 60,000 cubic meters per second by Tuesday, according to China's Ministry of Water Resources.
Since Saturday evening, Jianshi County in Enshi Prefecture of Hubei Province has been battered by torrential rain, according to state-run media outlet CGTN. The county has reported already been drenched with 180 millimeters of rain.
The heavy downpours have prompted local officials to raise the flood emergency from the second-highest level to the top alert, with some areas potentially seeing water levels climb to 560 mm. Official government statistics list five deaths and one person missing in Jianshi as of Sunday afternoon, with 160,000 across the county impacted by flooding.
China's National Meteorological Centre (NMC) predicts torrential rains in sections of Chongqing, Guizhou, Guangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui, and Jiangsu. The NMC predicts that these provinces will see 180 mm in daily rainfall, with some areas experiencing up to 70 millimeters of rain per hour.
Xinhua cited Minister of Water Resources E Jingping (鄂竟平) as saying that as the flood peaks, the volume of floodwater discharges from the Three Gorges Dam must be "finely adjusted." He added that efforts should be made to "increase flood discharge" in the Huai River, reduce the water level of Hongze Lake and Lake Tai, and prepare for possible deluges.
Water levels on Lake Tai, which sits on the border of Jiangsu and Zhejiang have surpassed safe limits for nine days in a row. According to the Ministry of Water Resources, the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River below the city of Shishou have also surpassed safe limits.
Given that the Three Gorges Dam is upstream of Lake Tai and Shishou, it is another instance in which the dam has failed to live up to its purported purpose of "flood control."