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Biggest Flood Crest Heads for Three Gorges
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The Three Gorges Dam is preparing in order to control the largest flood crest this year from the upper Yangtze River to protect the middle and lower reaches as central China's Hubei Province goes on high flood alert.

On Monday at noon the Three Gorges Reservoir began to release floodwater at 48,000 cubic meters per second. At 8:00 AM, due to continuous rain in the upper reaches, the water inflow into the reservoir measured 51,000 cubic meters per second.

The inflow is expected to reach 56,700 cubic meters per second, the floodwater's peak, by 8:00 AM on Tuesday, according to the China Three Gorges Corporation, the builder of the gigantic Three Gorges hydropower project.

"The Three Gorges Dam has opened 18 sluices and the water level in the reservoir will continue to rise," said a worker with one of the dam's operation department. "The safety of the dam will be tested."

The two-way traffic at the Three Gorges ship lock was halted at 8:00 AM on Monday due to floodwaters.

Hubei Province, where the Three Gorges project is located, is also on high alert.

Water levels in the 1,392-km section of the river from Yichang to Hankou would exceed levels requiring initiation of flood prevention work, according to the Hubei Flood Control and Drought Relief headquarters.

Water levels in certain sections is expected to reach or exceed warning levels, the headquarters reported.

The province has ordered a round-the-clock monitoring of the levees, said Liu Youfan, Vice Governor of Hubei Province.

(Xinhua News Agency July 31, 2007)

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