TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Despite the purported "flood reduction" effects of the Three Gorges Dam downstream, Chongqing was hit by the crest of a massive flood on Monday (July 27), inundating parts of the megacity, as well as other nearby municipalities.
After being pounded by torrential rain for days, the Changjiang Water Resources Commission of the Ministry of Water Resources on Sunday (July 26) announced that the "No. 3 Flood" was striking the upper reaches of the Yangtze River Basin. The mammoth flood surged down the Jialing River, a tributary of the Yangtze, submerging the ancient town of Ciqikou and inundating low-lying areas of the megapolis Chongqing, including its famous landmark Chaotianmen.
Hong Kong's Economic Times reports that by 6 a.m. on Monday morning the water level at the Cuntan hydrologic station in Chongqing rose to 180.5 meters, exceeding the warning level for the first time this year. This also represents the largest flood to pass through Chongqing so far this year.
Located at the nexus of the Yangtze River and Jialing River, water buried Chaotianmen 180 Platform, the Chaotianmen Dock, and floodwaters reached the middle of the Chaotianmen Square entrance. Meanwhile, the water level in Ciqikou, a town with a thousand years of history, climbed to 184.07 meters, three meters higher than the warning level.
The Chongqing Fuling Flood Protection Drought Relief Headquarters announced that the Jialing River and upper reaches of the Yangtze River were seeing the heaviest floods so far this year. It reported that the water level around Chongqing was continuing to rise that day and was not expected to crest until late on Monday evening.
In addition to Chongqing, the city of Enshi in Hubei Province, which sits on the Qing River, a tributary of the Yangtze River, has been assailed by heavy rain for several days. The Chinese government reported that the floods had killed five and affected 160,000 people in the city, and the China Meteorological Administration predicted that the rains would continue well into Thursday (July 30).
This latest flood is the largest yet seen this year by the Three Gorges Dam. The Yangtze River Basin is now entering what is normally the period of heaviest rains, which runs from late July to early August, indicating that further deluges could be coming soon.
Chinese state-run media mouthpiece Xinhua on Monday claimed that the Three Gorges Dam retained "36.7 percent of peak floodwater" that day. However, the report failed to mention that Chonqing and other cities upstream still experienced unprecedented flooding.
The report cited the China Three Gorges Corporation as saying that the water-inflow rate at the dam reached 50,000 cubic meters per second by 2 p.m. on Sunday, before rising to 60,000 cubic meters per second 24 hours later on Monday, surpassing the previous two floods this year. The corporation, however, did not mention the rate at which the dam discharged water toward cities below the dam such as Yichang and Wuhan.
Video shows flooding in Chongqing:
Video shows flooding in Ciqikou:
7月27日的重庆市磁器口古镇！ pic.twitter.com/lSPkvrGU8M— Bright Future (@mywayne0511) July 28, 2020
Video below shows flooding in Enshi City: