China floods: Three Gorges, the world’s largest dam, records biggest inflow in history

China floods: Three Gorges, the world's largest dam, records biggest inflow in history - We The World Magazine
Image courtesy of Xiao Weinan via Global Times

The world’s largest dam ever made – the Three Gorges on river Yangtze recorded the largest inflow of water in the dam’s lifetime, gulping out a whopping 75,000 cubic meters of water per second on 8 am, Thursday, as predicted earlier, the dam management said in a statement to local media.

This volume of water is bigger than most of the world’s average waterfalls, probably dwarfing some of the famous as well, like the Angel falls.

This news comes as China faces one of the most devastating floods in recent history, as the upper end of the mighty Yangtze River in South West China swelled up dangerously in the past few days.

According to multiple Chinese state media reports, eleven of Three Gorges dam’s spillway holes had to be opened to keep the massive volume of water flowing out.

The dam has a total of 23 deep spillway holes with 22 surface spillway holes to effectively tame one of the world’s biggest rivers.

Constructed in 2003, the Three Gorges in Central China’s Hubei province is arguably the world’s largest dam ever built for hydroelectric purposes as per International Water Power & Dam Construction magazine.

At the height of a 50-storied building, and breadth that stretches more than a mile, according to NASA, the dam is capable of holding back more than five trillion gallons (19 billion cubic meters) of water.

The Three gorges dam pouring out massive volumes of water as river Yangtze swells up from days of rainfall (Image courtesy of Deng Bin via Global Times) China floods: Three Gorges, the world’s largest dam, records biggest inflow in history

China’s ministry of water resources on Wednesday raised the emergency response alarm from Level III to Level II after both the inflow peak and discharge flow peak recorded higher than average levels.

Water levels of the upper end of the Yangtze river recorded 191.55 meters Thursday morning, which is 8.05 meters above the line of safety and also remarkable since 1939 when the Cuntan Port Station in Chongqing was built.

China’s inland water bodies have significantly swelled in the past few days thanks to the heavy rainfall.

In some parts of Sichuan the water level has risen while in Leshan river waters submerged the feet of the 1000+ years old giant Buddha statue for a stint of time, this too for the first time in 70-years.

However, thankfully of late, ariel images show the water levels have submerged and the foot the World Heritage Buddha statue is now visible, to the relief of the world.

The China floods this year have left 200 people dead or missing, and damaged properties and overall loss worth $25 billion, according to the authorities, the Guardian reported.

This year’s China floods is the worst after the Yangtze overflow of 1998 upended 4000 lives, as per news reports.