The Three Gorges Dam Project has started discharging water to lower the water level in the reservoir after excessive rainfall upstream.
The inflow was 34,500 cubic meters per second at 8 a.m. Saturday, up from 27,000 six hours before. Operators opened six spillways to discharge water of 11,000 cubic meters per second, said Zhao Yunfa, a director of the communication center of China's largest hydropower project.
The discharges since Friday night had lowered the water level from 145.91 to 145.78 meters as of 1 PM.
It was the first time this year that the reservoir had performed its flood-control function.
The discharging would continue as more heavy rains were expected on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, Zhao said.
The world's largest dam, 2,309 meters long and 185 meters high, is expected to help minimize damage caused by floods that might occur only once every 1,000 years.
Completed in May 2006, it passed its first flood control test last year.
The US$22.5-billion project was launched in 1993. Its 26 turbo-generators are designed to produce 85 billion kwh of electricity a year after their installation is completed at the end of this year.
So far, 24 turbines have been put into operation and the project has produced 236 billion kwh of electricity since 2003.
(Xinhua News Agency July 5, 2008)