In September, the dam's administration began withholding water outflows to push the reservoir's level up to 175 metres. Rising water levels have caused 93 "surface threats" – menaces to infrastructure, land and housing -- in 12 regions and counties around the dam area, Xinhua news agency quoted Chongqing government spokesman, Wen Tianping, as saying. Direct economic losses have amounted to 360 million yuan (US$53 million), but there have been no injuries or deaths, he added.
Repair efforts worth 12 billion yuan (US$1.75 billion) over the last few years have been successful, officials said. However, as recently as April, there was a mudslide in a village in the nearby Gaoyang area. Landslides are expected to worsen next year as water levels
reach their maximum height.
Since its completion in 2003, the dam's water level has risen in stages, reaching 156 metres in 2006. The dam -- the world's largest at 2,309 metres long -- was built to provide cheap, clean energy to sustain China's rapid development.
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