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|Monday, October 02, 2000, updated at 14:31(GMT+8)|
China to Rebuild Oldest Hydrologic Station on YangtzeChina plans to rebuild its oldest hydrometric station on the Yangtze River, which is used to measure water levels on the river, but will eventually be submerged in the Three Gorges Reservoir three years later.
Shao Weidong, an official with the Chongqing Municipal Bureau for Cultural Heritage, disclosed that the project to rebuild Baiheliang (White Crane Ridge), which dates back more than 1,200 years, will start in February or March of 2001, the low water season for the Yangtze, China's largest river.
The 10-million-yuan (1.2-million-U.S.-dollar) project is expected to be completed before 2009, when the massive Three Gorges Project is completed, Shao said.
Baiheliang, a 1,600-meter-long and 15-meter-wide rock ridge, is in the Yangtze River to the north of Fuling District of Chongqing Municipality. It was given the name because of the white cranes that used to gather on it in ancient times. Stone fish carvings, which were used for measuring water levels from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) on can be seen on the rock ridge when it appears in the dry season.
Hydrologists said that poems and descriptions of water levels, the date of the appearance of the rock ridge and other information are preserved on the rock, which is also called "Forest of Underwater Steles".
Of the descriptions, 114 paragraphs, which record the water levels in dry seasons and the period of the appearance of dry seasons on the Yangtze for 74 years in history, are of high hydrometric value, experts say.
Experts pointed out, what is surprising is that the theory ancient Chinese used to measure the water levels is the same that is used by modern hydrologic stations, which use data. Baiheliang has recorded water level changes on the Yangtze over a period of more than 1,200 consecutive years.
Shao said that more than 100 meters of the original section of Baiheliang, which contains most of the carvings, will be rebuilt between the Yangtze dam and the rock ridge's former site.
The new Baiheliang is 165 meters above sea level, or 25 meters higher than the original one. The new Baiheliang will remain above water for six months a year, and 50 years later, it will be above water for four months a year.
The massive Three Gorges Reservoir Project, the biggest water project in the world, will flood 632 square kilometers of land area upon completion. China plans to save and protect 1,087 cultural relics and historical sites at a cost of one billion yuanbefore the project is completed around 2009.
At the same time, protection of the original site of Baiheliang is also being strengthened, as the rocky ground will be flooded by water when the first phase of the Three Gorges Reservoir stores
water in 2003.
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