Sick Dams: Real Reason Behind China’s Fatal Flooding
China has the most reservoir dams in the world,
and the highest dam failure rate.
China has built nearly 90,000 dams, whilst nearly
all of them have been under of repair for years.
Over 40,000 in-service dams in China are “sick”.
This has put 25% of counties at risk of destruction
after a dam breach.
Experts think that the reason behind this year’s
flooding in the North and South,
was more likely caused by the
collapse of these “sick” dams.
For days, China’s media have been reporting on fatal floods,
and dam breaking due to heavy rainfall.
Global attention was once again given to
China’s reservoir dams, a controversial issue.
Chinese geologist, Yang Yong: “China’s dam issue
has been talked about for years.
The authorities have reached a final conclusion.
China has almost 100,000 dams, 60% of them
are in a dangerous state.
This was the information released by the
Ministry of Water Resources in 2012.”
An official survey shows the problems with China’s dams.
They are of inferior quality, with long-term services,
facility decaying, and lack of adequate maintenance.
Over 40,000 reservoirs in China are at risk of a breach.
They are posing a direct threat to the safety of
179 cities and 285 counties.
Yang Yong: “It is a very high rate with 60%
being classified as being dangerous reservoirs.
In extreme weather conditions, it is highly
probable of a dam break.
That will cause large loss and destruction.”
Public data show that China has the most dams in the world.
The annual average rate of a dam break is
four times that of the world norm.
In 2006, China’s Water Resources vice minister admitted
that by 2005, China had an average of 68 dam breaches yearly.
Dam seepage and weakness are common problems
with many reservoirs.
During the flood season, dangerous situations often
occur in small reservoirs, which include dam failure.
Yang Yong: “This year’s flooding in the North and South
were all affected by these dams.
But so far, the authorities have
given no explicit explanations.
In addition to rainfall, whether the floods are related
to dams? We haven’t seen any official conclusion yet.
Now many cities and towns have been flooded, and
river flood control systems are facing huge pressure.
I think there is a link between the flooding and
breaching of some sick dams.”
Reportedly, in Puning, Guangdong Province,
dam breaks have caused many deaths this year.
A Dam breach in Shantou had caused a three-meter flood level,
which trapped a large number of local residents.
Back in 1975, the Banqiao reservoir dam failure occurred
in Henan Province, leading to 240,000 deaths.
The public has now raised their queries——
why did the dams collapse?
Were there problems with structure, material composition,
designing, or were they shoddy constructions?
People are asking why no prior reinforcing and repairs
were applied to these dams in the pre-flood period?
The authorities’ reply was: a critical shortage of funds,
which leads to non maintenance.
However, corruption of officials involved in reservoir
maintenance have been continuously exposed.
Reportedly, in Shatian, a town of Helongjiang Province,
officials spent the budget for reservoir renovations to buy famous cars.
In June 2005, the dam collapsed due to heavy rains.
The flood drowned a primary school located downstream,
claiming the lives of 105 students.
Media reports claim that China’s Water Resources Ministry
allocated a 120-million-yuan contingency fund
for local infrastructure investments in 1988.
Yet the fund remained idle until the year 2000.