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Sediment Issues

The sediment ranks as a crucial difficult issue for reservoir construction worldwide. There will be 530 million tons of sediment coming into the reservoir per year, which may, if not properly dealt with, influence the function of and decrease the life of the reservoir, also impact unfavorably on the navigation of Yangtze River.

In fact, the sediment research on Three Gorges reservoir began from 1960s and has a history of more than 30 years. The research is done based on prototype observation, mathematic modeling, physical modeling test, and also with reference to the construction of the as-built projects. Adoption of reservoir dispatching method of “storing clean water and emitting more-sediment water” can protect reservoir for long period operation, according to topographic and landform features of TGP reservoir. It is estimated that the reservoir, after one hundred years, may reach the inflow and outflow balance of sediment, and the capacity of reservoir for flood control will still be kept at about 86%, and that for adjustment will be kept at 92%. A strain of methods adopted in the project will assure smooth function of the navigation and power plant.

At the same time, the state adopted other engineering methods to protect the environment, to control the soil and water losses, which will decrease sediment inflow to Yangtze River, and improve the water quality.

Latest result of monitoring indicates that the content of sediment in the water has a trend of decreasing, and soil and water losses in Three Gorges area goes down at about 1% per year.

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