The damming of the Three Gorges Project's diversion canal on the Yangtze River was successfully completed at 9:48 a.m. Wednesday.
The river's natural flow started to pass through the flood discharging holes of the Three Gorges Dam.
The canal was used since 1997 to facilitate construction of the Three Gorges Dam, located near Yichang in central China's Hubei Province.
Dubbed the "man-made Yangtze River," the 3.5-km-long canal served as an interim navigation route as well as a water-diversion means. The canal was designed with a maximum flow of 79,000 cubic meters per second, equaling the peak flow of the biggest flood on the Yangtze River in 100 years.
Closure of the canal means the Yangtze River has been completely dammed at the Three Gorges. From Wednesday morning onwards, all river water is flowing through diversion holes on the lower part of the main dam spanning the river.
Navigation on the river is expected to resume in June next year when the permanent ship lock is put into operation.
The construction of the world's largest water conservancy project is expected for completion on schedule in 2009, when it will be able to greatly control flooding of the Yangtze and generate 84.7 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually.
The first Yangtze River damming was made in 1981 for the construction of the Gezhouba Power Plant, about 20 km downstream.
Li Peng, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, was present at a ceremony for the event.
(People's Daily November 6, 2002)