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NCC delegates call for new water level at Three Gorges

16 May 2012
Three prominent National Consultative Conference delegates including Lu Xiaozhong, chairman of Minsheng Shipping, each submitted motions recently calling for a readjustment of the water level at the Three Gorges Reservoir so as to minimise the risk of causing seismic geologic hazard, maximise shipping capacity and increase power generating capacity of the Three Gorges Power Station.

Currently, the water level at the Three Gorges Reservoir is manipulated over the course of the year to take account of fluctuating rainfall patterns. The level will be reduced to 145 metres at the end of May / beginning of June and maintained at that level until the end of September. From October, the reservoir will store floodwater by raising the water level up to 175 metres and keeping it there until the end of December. From January, the water level will be reduced gradually to 145 metres.

Mr Lu and his fellow delegates argued that the 30-metre cyclical drop in water levels should be re-examined and reduced given that a number of hydropower projects are being built upstream of Chongqing, resulting in a change of its flood prevention function and silting patterns.

They proposed that the cyclical drop be reduced by 10 to 15 metres. If the water level is maintained at 160 metres between end of May and end of September, rather than the current 145 metres, the chairman of Minsheng Shipping said, then shipping conditions in the upper reaches of the Yangtze would be improved tremendously. At the moment, it is very common in the summer months for the riverbed in the upper reaches to be exposed and shipping hindered.

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