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Boats urged off Yangtze as flood peak nears

By Xu Wei  (China Daily)

09:04, July 24, 2012

A man jumps across floodwater in Wujia township of Chongqing on Sunday. Heavy rains have hit the municipality since Saturday and affected 300,000 residents. Ran Wen / for China Daily

Authorities have called for tighter control of boats and small ships on the Yangtze River to ease river traffic congestion at the Three Gorges Dam, which is about to face the largest flood peak of the year this week.

In a joint statement, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters and the Ministry of Transport called on local authorities to try to dissuade owners of boats and small ships from operating during the flood peak period and to tighten safety measures of vessels crowded at the dam.

The Three Gorges Dam will face the largest flood peak this year before dawn on Wednesday after heavy rains hit upstream areas of the Yangtze River, the national flood control authority said.

The flow rate could also be the highest at the dam since it began operation, the authority said.

The dam increased its floodwater release from 38,000 cubic meters per second to 43,000 cu m per second between Monday evening and Tuesday morning.

Authorities have promised to improve the efficiency of ferry services at the dam as soon as the amount of floodwater release is lowered.

Shipping congestion at the Three Gorges Dam has occurred since late June as the flood peak approached.

As of July 13, there were 606 ships were caught in the river traffic at the dam.

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