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Water inside China's Three Gorges Dam nears maximum levels


Torrential rain has water level at world's biggest dam to record forcing authorities to increase discharge volumes.

Water levels at China's giant Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze river are inching closer to their maximum after torrential rains raised inflows to a record high, official data showed on Friday.

With 75,000 cubic metres per second of water flowing in from the Yangtze River on Thursday, the reservoir's depth had reached 165.6 metres (543 feet) by Friday morning, up more than two metres (6.6 feet) overnight and almost 20 metres (65.6 feet) higher than the official warning level.

The maximum designed depth of China's largest reservoir is 175 metres (574 feet).

Authorities raised the discharge volume to a record 48,800 cubic metres per second on Thursday to try and lower water levels, and they might have to increase it again to avoid the possibility of a dangerous overflow.

"They will do everything they can to prevent the dam from overtopping," said Desiree Tullos, a professor at Oregon State University who studies the Three Gorges project, the world's biggest hydroelectric dam.

"An overtopping dam is a worst-case scenario because it produces significant damage ... and can lead to the entire thing collapsing."

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