Runoff characteristics of the Changjiang River during 2006: Effect of extreme drought and the impounding of the Three Gorges Dam

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Abstract

[1] In 2006, the Changjiang basin runoff reached its lowest level in the last 50 years, and the water level in the Three Gorges Dam (TGD) was raised from 135 m to 156 m. Based on routine water level and runoff measurements at 10 field stations, the water level in flood season during the last 50 years was lowest in 2006, a situation here we describe as “no flood in the flood season” (NFFS). In contrast, there was no obvious change in runoff of the mid-lower reaches of the Changjiang river (MLRCR) in the drought season in 2006, which we correspondingly describe as “no drought in the drought season (NDDS)”. The extreme drought of Changjiang and impounding of TGD contributed to NFFS. However, the adjustment of TGD and the replenishment from tributaries and lakes resulted in NDDS. Meanwhile, 54% of the water flux was lost at Datong during September 20 to October 27, 2006, in comparison with the same period in 2005. It can be estimated that the impounding of TGD and the extreme drought in 2006 contributed 9% and 45% of this loss, respectively.

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