Danjiangkou Reservoir

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Danjiangkou Reservoir Facts

Basin Area: 745 745 km²
287.57 mi²
Average Basin Discharge: 1745000000017,450,000,000 m³/s
616,240,933,915 cfs
550,669,650 km³/y

Fact References[1]

All Facts about Danjiangkou Reservoir

Danjiangkou Reservoir is the main source of water under MRP, controlling 60% of the total drainage area of Hanjiang River basin, from which it will provide approximately 13 billion m3 of water annually to the north China Plain and to further cities of Beijing and Tianjin.[2] Danjiangkou Reservoir locates on Hangjiang (or Han River), and across Hubei, Henan provinces, it is a multifunctional reservoir in water supply, flood control, power generation and aquaculture. Built in 1958, thus constructed in 1974, Danjiangkou Reservoir is surrounded by mountains with elevations of higher than 200 meters on its southern, western and northern side, while the eastern side (Dantang watershed) has lower elevations ranging from 175 to 195 meters above sea level.[3]

Elevation of the Danjiangkou Dam and its effect

Due to the MRP of the SNWDP, from 2005 the project aims to heighten Danjiangkou Dam from original 162 to 176.6 meters, expands its capacity by 40 percent from 17.5 billion to 29.05 billion (33.9 billion at large[4]) cubic meters.[5] Until 2014 when the water level is raised, it can be transported through the canal to cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Henan.

The canal route to deliver water to the northern cities will pass through mountains, hills and plains with a floor elevation of 140 meter at the head; after crossing the Yellow River, the canal elevation drops to 106.5 m and finally reaches 49.1 m in Beijing.[3]


The impacts of the water diversion project includes the loss of antiquities, the displacement of people and the destruction of pasture land.[6]

The Danjiangkou Dam and canal construction has multiple environmental effects within the construction area. Deforestation and soil erosion can be found in the northern region of the reservoir in Henan province and in the western part of Shaanxi province. Some studies have found soil salinization caused by the rising groundwater table, slope instability of swelling clay and rock, settlement of the ground surface in the coal district, and seepage through the banks of the canal and frozen heave problems.[3]


Rainfall primarily occurs in July, August and September, often characterized as a flood season. Danjiangkou Dam enhances flood control on the Han River. In the summer of 1998, the Hanjiang water upstream of August was reduce by Danjiangkou Reservoir by 60-93%, storing up 3.7 billion cubic meters of water.[7] The elevation of the Dam by MRP further expands storage to deliver 13 billion m3 of water by 2020 with the mean annual flow of the Hanjiang in severe dry years of 19 billion m3.[8]

Some believe the Danjiangkou Reservoir may store enough of the Hanjian flow to lead to ecosystem changes to the lower river. According to the Project Office under the State Council, the total surface water flow of the Hajiang upstream of the Danjiangkou dam is 38.8 billion cubic meters—around 2.3 billion cubic meters of this volume is consumed, leaving some 36.5 billion cubic meters flowing into the reservoir each year. Aside from those for local irrigation and industrial use, the water transferred from the Han River to the north ultimately will make up one-quarter of its total inflows into the Danjiangkou reservoir.[9] From 2009 to 2010, and in 2011 there has been significant droughts in central China due to insufficient river flow in Hanjian, raising concern that the region does not have excess water to transfer to the North. On March 7, 2013, the Danjiangkou Reservoir water to 8.393 billion cubic meters, 499 million cubic meters less than the same period in average, less than the drought year of 2011 over the same period, 323 million cubic meters, less than normal rates were 5.6% and 3.8%.

Displacement of People

It is estimated that the expansion of the reservoir’s capacity will relocate over 330,000 people, affecting the lifestyles and social network of both migrants and local residents particularly in the Hubei and Henan provinces. It is being described as the second largest relocation in China since Three Gorges Project finished in 2006.[10]

Announced by the official MRP corporation, the elevation of the water after heightening the dam will flood over 41 towns and cities, 471 villages, covering 307.7 square kilometers with 223,500 population, 160 industrial companies, 35 connecting bridges and 85 ports.

The plan requires that every relocated family will receive a one-time payment, and receive subsidies from the government for the next 20 years.[10] From October 2009, the families were allocated homes and farmland in newly-built villages, and annual compensation of about $88 USD, but there have been complaints that farmers are being offered less than half the land they previously had.[11] It has been reported that by the end of 2012, more than 345,000 people were moved to new homes, but this figure exceeds the one by the officials.[12]

Disappearance of Cultural Heritage

The Danjiangkou area, expected to be cleared and flooded in 2014 for the reservoir, is the birthplace of the Neolithic Yangshao culture and the ancient Chu culture.[13] The MRP will affect many cultural relics such as the Neolithic Age ruins, graves of the Warring States Period, Shang, Han and Western Zhou Dynasties, etc. Between May 1958 and December 1959, before work began on the Danjiangkou Reservoir, China's Ministry of Culture, the Institute of Archaeology (then under the Chinese Academy of Sciences), and the Yangtze Drainage Area Planning Office jointly established the Yangtze Drainage Area Planning Office Archaeology Team. The team identified more than 100 archaeological sites in the catchment area, but was only able to excavate 23 sites and 15 graves and to move 11 above-ground heritage structures to safe ground.[14]

In June 2003 the State Cultural Relics Bureau and the Ministry of Water Conservancy came to an agreement, after protracted discussions, on heritage work related to the MRP. In September that year an office was set up to coordinate MRP heritage work and in November the State Cultural Relics Bureau began drafting cultural heritage conservation plans for the eastern and western diversion channels.

Started from 2006, the Cultural Relics Bureau established an emergency salvage program by rescuing excavation and relocation of heritage sites in the Danjiangkou Reservoir catchment area and the eastern route. By 2012, the Henan provincial cultural relics bureau said that excavations have been carried out in 123 archeological sites covering 310,000 square meters and 35,000 items have been unearthed.[13] The program is set to end by June 2012.

Case Studies linked to Danjiangkou Reservoir[edit]

Articles linked to Danjiangkou Reservoir[edit]

Riparians Water Features

Projects and Initiatives Agreements and Treaties

  1. ^ 2006-2-20. "丹江口大坝加高工程"(translated: "elevation of the Danjiangkou Dam") http://www.zxsygs.com/Article/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=65 (in Chinese)
  2. ^ Website of Office of the South-North Water Diversion Project Construction Committee, Middle Route Project: http://www.nsbd.gov.cn/zx/english/mrp.htm
  3. ^ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Wang, L. and Ma, C. (1999). A study on the environmental geology of the Middle Route Project of the South-North water transfer. Engineering Geology 51 (3), pp. 153-165.
  4. ^ 丹江口大坝加高工程‹(Elevation of the Danjiangkou Dam), official website of MRP corporation, 02-20-2009 availble online: http://www.zxsygs.com/Article/ShowArticle.asp?ArticleID=65 (in Chinese)
  5. ^ “Danjiangkou reservoir heightens its dam by 15 meters and expands 40 percent of its capacity (translated),” Changjiang Daily, 06-19-2009 (http://www.abd.cn/news/related/20090619/news28312.shtml)(in Chinese)
  6. ^ case study on South-to-North Water Diversion Project, China, Water-technology.net http://www.water-technology.net/projects/south_north/ (latest access 07-30-2013)
  7. ^ Z. Yang et al.(2006). Dam impacts on the Changjiang (Yangtze) River sediment discharge to the sea: The past 55 years and after the Three Gorges Dam. Water Resources Research, Vol. 43, 2006
  8. ^ Chansheng He, Xiaoying He and Li Fu (2010). China's South-to-North Water Transfer Project: Is it Needed?, Geography Compass 4/9 (2010): 1312-1323
  9. ^ "Water diversions and dam threatening to fragment the Han River (translated), New Century Weekly (Xinshiji zhoukan) Cover Story, Vol. 408, 07-12-2010 online version (in Chinese): http://magazine.caing.com/2010/cwcs408/ Translation in English by Probe International, Energy Probe Research Foundation: http://eprf.probeinternational.org/node/9093
  10. ^ 10.0 10.1 Biggest relocation in China since Three Gorge, The Independent News 13-08-2010 accessed online July 2013: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/biggest-relocation-in-china-since-three-gorges-2051297.html
  11. ^ China moves 330,000 in water plan, BBC News 10-10-2009 accessed online: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8314447.stm
  12. ^ Danjiangkou Reservoir relocation completed in China, CCTV News, 09-17-2012 online at http://english.cntv.cn/program/newsupdate/20120917/104444.shtml
  13. ^ 13.0 13.1 Archaeologists rush to save relics in Danjiangkou, Xinhua Agencies, 01-02-2013 http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/753331.shtml
  14. ^ Taming the Floodwaters: The high heritage price of massive hydraulic project, China Heritage Newsletter: China Heritage Project, The Australian University, No. 1, March 2005. accessed online July 2013: http://www.chinaheritagequarterly.org/features.php?searchterm=001_water.inc&issue=001

Facts about "Danjiangkou Reservoir"RDF feed
Average Basin Discharge17,450,000,000 m³/s (616,240,933,915 cfs, 550,669,650 km³/y) +
Basin Area745 km² (287.57 mi²) +
Located in RegionCentral Asia +
Water Feature TypeReservoir +