Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Yangtze River Three Gorges Stopped from Flow

With the closure of the man-made diversion canal completed at the Three Gorges Project Wednesday morning, the Yangtze, China's longest river, is fully stopped from natural flow at the famed Three Gorges. The river's natural flow started to pass through the flood discharging holes of the Three Gorges Dam.


Three Gorges Damming on Yangtze River Successful
With the closure of the man-made diversion canal completed at the Three Gorges Project Wednesday morning, the Yangtze, China's longest river, is fully stopped from natural flow at the famed Three Gorges.

A reservoir with a serene water surface behind the main dam will take shape after workers complete on the southern bank of the Yangtze the final 665-meter-long section of the 2,309-meter-long and 185-meter-high dam in the next eight months.

Li Peng, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, attended the ceremony specially arranged to mark the damming event.

"The Three Gorges Project is a great achievement in the world's history of engineering," Li said, citing the old saying that goes "the administration of a country's national affairs becomes easier when its rivers are tamed."

Damming of Diversion Channel in Three Gorges to Start
Zheng Shouren, engineer-in-chief of the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee, said after a decade's painstaking efforts, construction of the Three Gorges Project has entered a "harvest" period: major problems being solved, a reservoir forming, service of a ship lock next year, the first four generators beginning to generate electricity next year.

The project will also begin to play part of its role in flood control, power generation, navigation, water diversion and environmental protection, he said.

"The achievements have proved construction of the Three Gorges Project is a scientific decision that conforms with China's actual conditions and is also a great attempt by mankind to change nature and improve his fate," said Zheng.

The Three Gorges, which consist of Qutang, Wuxia and Xiling Gorges, extend for 200 km on the upper reaches of the Yangtze. They have become a popular world-class tourist destination noted for beautiful natural landscapes and a great number of historical and cultural relics.

The Three Gorges Project, being built at the downstream Xiling Gorge, is considered to be the world's biggest water control facility.

Legend has it that the Three Gorges were cut by Dayu, a legendary flood control hero, when he was combating the floodwater.This section of the Yangtze has a narrow river course that abounds in hydroelectric resources.

The Three Gorges Project is designed to harness flooding on the Yangtze by making good use of the local geographic features.

When the Three Gorges Project is finished in 2009, China will be able to rein in floods unprecedented in 100 years at the middle reaches of the Yangtze.

More than 1,000 lives were lost in a destructive flood in 1998,the only one of the Yangtze's numerous disastrous floods.

Five years ago, the 900-meter-wide mainstream of the Yangtze was closed for construction of the main dam at the northern bank, with the 350-meter-wide diversion canal left open to facilitate navigation on the river.

Wednesday's damming fully closes the man-made canal to make way for completion of the main dam on the southern bank.

Since 9:48 a.m. Wednesday, the water of the mighty Yangtze has been forced to flow through 22 diversion holes at the lower part of the main dam already built. Each hole measures six meters wide by 8.5 meters high.

The final phase of damming the Yangtze River began at 9:12 a.m.Queues of dump trucks and bulldozers filled the 20-meter-wide opening with boulders, producing numerous spouts of water. This damming is just one of many similar operations New China has made to tame its abundant rivers.

More than 15,000 technical workers, including 6,000 overseas specialists from 50 countries and regions, have taken part in constructing the Three Gorges Project.

Building the project has meant relocating 1.2 million residents,60 percent of whom have already moved out of their original homes.

Experts say the uniquely beautiful scenery at the Three Gorges will not be changed much when the Three Gorges reservoir begins tofill up. Navigation on the river, temporarily stopped after the closure of the diversion canal, is expected to resume in June next year when the permanent ship lock is put into operation.

The planned preservation of cultural relics by excavation or evacuation has been carried out.

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