Yellow River Huang
One of the two great rivers of China – Yellow River Huang brings prosperity and misery to people living along its banks. Known as “China’s sorrow” for its disastrous flooding throughout history, the river causes extensive damage to nearby farmland and surrounding communities. And to prevent the flooding people built dikes. However, they constantly have to rebuild them. Meanwhile, the river has also changed course many times, causing untold destruction. In fact, it is China’s second longest, after the Yangzi (Chang) River. Named for the yellow silt in its waters, the lower reaches of the river are considered the cradle of Chinese civilization, with archaeological sites dating back 7,000 years.
Located approximately 300 km south of Beijing, Yellow River originates in the eastern part of the Tibetan Plateau, about 161 km. west of Lake Dzharin Nur (Gyaring Tso). From here it begins its journey in the 5463 km long to the Yellow Sea. This is the fourth of the longest rivers in Asia, although its catchment area of 979,016 sq.km. takes only sixth (or seventh, if you count swimming pool and the Ganges – Brahmaputra in India and Tibet) place. Ridge Bayan-Khara-Ula, from which it takes its origins one of the tributaries of the Yellow River, is just 48 km away. North of the origins of one of the tributaries of the Yangtze River (Changjiang), Asia’s longest river.
Because the river runs through very flat land, the water follows the natural law of least resistance and changes course frequently. First, during the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368), the Huang changed its course from northern to southern Shandong Province, flooding 7,769 square kilometers (3,000 square miles) of farmland. Second, between 1853 and 1855, the river again began flowing through northern Shandong Province, destroying large areas of farmland. And in 1938 General Chiang Kai-shek (1887–1975) ordered his troops to destroy the dikes along the river in Henan Province to flood a valley to stop the advance of Japanese troops. Although the advance was stopped and many of the enemy killed more than 1 million Chinese civilians drowned.
By far one of the muddy rivers in the world, the Yellow river carries about 26 kg of sludge per cubic yard of water (compared to 0.9 kg, respectively, in the Nile, and 7.7 kg in Colorado). During the flood water can carry up to 544 kg of sludge per cubic yard, which is approximately 70% of its volume. These figures mean that the river brings into the sea about a thousand tons of sludge annually. Such high figures to some extent explained by the relatively fast-flowing river, almost without losing speed even when passing through the extensive irrigation systems of the plain.
In 1955 the government began a fifty-year construction program designed to control flooding and to harness the river for hydroelectric power and irrigation. One of the most important components of the plan is the San-Men Gorge Dam in western Henan Province. Begun in 1955 and completed in 1974, the dam helps to control flooding and to store water for a hydroelectric station. Another important dam is the Liu-Chia Gorge Dam, along the middle basin of the river. At this site the river is harnessed to produce hydroelectric power. The Liu-Chia hydroelectric power station was the largest and most productive in China until the Three Gorges Dam (on the Yangzi River) becomes operational in 2009.
Although the Huang still overflows its bank almost every spring, flooding is under control and there have been no major floods on the river since the mid-1970s. It is known that for the last two thousand years, the river, at least 20 times significantly changed the trajectory of the bed. But like many other large rivers, it gives new life to the fields; retreating after the spill water leaves a large part of the fertile less collected upstream.
Yellow River Wetland
National Natural Reserve Yellow River Wetland is located in Henan Province, central China. This beautiful place is literally a bird paradise. The total area of the reserve is 68 thousands hectare. It’s a breeding place for over 41 types of birds, which are under the first and second-grade protection in China.
Yellow River has never been navigable, except for a small section of 161 km in length in its lower reaches. However, the construction of the dam created the reservoir length of 200 km. Besides, a power plant in Sanmynsya that gives one million kilowatt-hours of electricity. In addition, expected in the future construction of new dams need to increase the number of shipping segments as the river itself, and on the some of its tributaries.
Yellow River Huang
Berkshire Encyclopedia of China, 2009
cnta.gov.cn (China national tourism)