Authorities along the Huaihe River and Taihu Lake are to carry out an overall plan aimed at accelerating flood- and waterlogging-control measures to avoid the havoc that ravaged East China in the summer of 1991.
The plan, just approved by the State Council, is scheduled to be fully completed by 2010, with estimated investment of up to 81.5 billion yuan (US$9.8 billion), Vice-Minister of Water Resource Zhang Jiyao announced Sunday at a national work conference of the ministry.
"It covers all sections of the two flood-prone areas along the Huaihe River and Taihu drainage basins in East China, but focuses on the protection of the regions' major targets," said Zhang.
China launched massive flood- and waterlogging-control projects following the floods that swept over the two valleys in 1991.
On the Huaihe, there will be 19 water-control works. Four key projects have already been finished and work has started on 13 others at a cost of 17.7 billion yuan (US$2.1 billion) -- money that had been earmarked for the purpose since 1991.
Even better, over 80 percent of the investment that has poured into the Taihu Lake projects since 1991 has been carried out, with all 11 planned projects started and four major projects almost finished, said a senior engineer at the ministry.
Under the newly devised schemes, scores of key reservoirs, thousands of kilometers of levees and affiliated sluices due to be built or renovated are expected to protect many major cities, railways, booming industrial centers and vast stretches of fertile farmland downstream from the Huaihe River, along with high-yielding paddy fields surrounding Taihu Lake.
Zhang said he was confident that "such a flood-control scheme can protect the targets from floods as devastating as those of 1991 and 1998" -- which raised havoc in some of East China's most significant areas, such as Suzhou, Wuxi and Changzhou.
One of the most important parts of the plan aims to raise the standards of anti-flood projects, shielding the area's largest and most important cities as well as industrial centers.
Standards for levees to resist the worst floods to occur in 50 or less years on main streams downstream from the Huaihe will be raised to withstand the worst deluge possible to occur in 100 years.
Anti-flood facilities in Bengbu and Huainan -- industrial cities in Anhui Province -- and many cities in Jiangsu, Henan and Shandong provinces will also be updated to be able to withstand the worst floods to occur in 50 years.
Zhang said: "Similar anti-flood schemes are expected to be drafted soon to improve flood-control systems along the rest of the tributaries along the Huaihe River and water systems surrounding Taihu Lake."
(China Daily May 13, 2002)