Flow Monitoring Helps Officials at Three Gorges Dam

Officials at Three Gorges Dam Turn to Flow Monitoring for Help with the Future

Among the lush plane of Southeastern China, spanning the Yangtze River, stands the world’s largest hydroelectric Dam – The Three Gorges. Today, Chinese officials are now facing environmental repercussions and staking the future water supply for surrounding residents on accurate flow and stage monitoring around the Dam.


WaterLOG Senior Applications Engineer, Brian Shupe, at Three Gorges Dam

The Drought Dilemma

The Dam was initially implemented to increase shipping, provide power, and decrease the risk of flooding for cities downstream. Many environmentalists cautioned that the Three Gorges Dam would take a toll on the surrounding ecosystem and provide future problems. Years later, environmentalist warnings came true as southern and central China fell into a drought. The Yangtze river reached some of the lowest levels in years.

WaterLOG H-3553T Bubblers: a Compact Combo

Upon recognizing the problem, Chinese officials took action— installing water monitoring sites along the Yangtze River. Recently, officials have gone one step further to replace dangerous, nitrogen tank bubbler systems among the sites, with WaterLOG H-3553T Bubblers.


The WaterLOG H-3553T Bubbler—a compact combination of a bubbler and pressure sensor—allows officials to accurately monitor stage and flow of the river, above and below the Dam.

“Currently, they have installed 30 WaterLOG bubblers along the Yangtze River, with the hope to put in hundreds more” describes WaterLOG Senior Applications Engineer, Brian Shupe. “By monitoring stage and flow, WaterLOG Bubbler’s will help Chinese officials determine where the water is going”.

The Bubbler has an improved controller and pressure regulator that uses a system of sensors and valves to regulate the bubble rate and purge pressure. A simple purge feature helps keep sediment from settling around the orifice line by keeping the pressure at a desired level—making it ideal for remote site locations such as those found at the Three Gorges Dam.

Flow for the Future

Monitoring stage and flow on the Yangtze River is a vital part of correcting the issue at hand and assisting in managing the drought.

“With this data, officials hope to identify less critical river outlets, and take action to redirect the water to cities where residents are experiencing shortages,” adds Shupe.


By Source file: Le Grand PortageDerivative work: Rehman - File:Three_Gorges_Dam,_Yangtze_River,_China.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11425004

Meeting the water monitoring needs for sites at the Three Gorges Dam requires a reliable system. WaterLOG Bubblers installed throughout the River will be providing key data to help Chinese officials achieve a solution that will help residents through the drought and assist in correcting future conditions.

“Three Gorges Dam has huge potential to monitor large amounts of water, that will in turn, help them in their possible future drought conditions,” Shupe notes. “That WaterLOG could be a part of solving water conditions for the residents of China, is pretty neat”.



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