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Why Is the Flooding So Bad? Over Half of the Lakes Have Been Filled up for Farming

On July 5, 2016, NetEase (, a China-based Internet website, published an article that presented a lot of data explaining the historical reasons behind the current widespread flooding that has occurred in Southern China since June 30, 2016. 

[Editor’s note: When Mao Zedong was the top chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, he mobilized the Chinese people to fill in China’s lakes.] From the 1950s to the 1980s, in the Yangtze River region, the Chinese people started to fill up the lakes and ponds in order to do farming on a large scale. As a result, the majority of China’s lakes disappeared. In the 1950s, Hubei Province alone had a total area of 8503.7 square kilometers of lakes. By the 1980s, that area was significantly reduced to 2977.3 square kilometers. At the same time, the capacity of the lakes fell from 13.05 billion cubic meters in the 1950s to 5.69 billion cubic meters in 1980s. The flood storage capacity was only 3 billion cubic meters in 1980s, which was only 26.6 percent of the flood storage capacity in the early 1950s. 
Although heightening dikes can control the flooding to a certain extent, once the dikes collapse, more serious flooding will come. In contrast, natural lakes located in a low area have more advantages in storing flood water. The disappearance of flood regulations and storage capacity is difficult to recover in a short time.
Source:, July 5, 2016