Huang He – Yellow River
The Huang He is the second longest river in China after the Yangtze River. The name Huang He means “Yellow River” in Chinese. It got its name from the color of its muddy waters. The river is 5,464 kilometers long. It begins in mountains in western China. Much of it runs through the Loess Plateau and a lot of soil washes into the river. The river runs across the North China Plain and flows into the Yellow Sea. The chief tributaries of the Huang River are the Wei and Fen Rivers.
The Huang River has made at least five major direction changes from 602 B.C.E. to today. In the 1200s the river changed its course from northern to southern Shandong Province, flooding 7,769 square kilometers of farmland. In 1850s the river again began flowing through northern Shandong Province, destroying large areas of farmland. In 1938 General Chiang Kai-shek ordered to destroy the levees to flood a valley to stop the advance of Japanese troops. Many of the enemies were killed and more than 1 million Chinese civilians drowned.
The Huang River is the most dangerous river in China because of large-scale erosion occurring in the northern regions and continuous flooding. It is known as “China’s sorrow”.
The lower basin of the river is considered the cradle of Chinese civilization. The archaeological sites are dating back 7,000 years.
People have built earth barriers called levees to protect villages near the Huang He from floods. Since the 2nd century B.C.E., the Huang River has broken the levees some 1,500 times, inundating the surrounding towns. In 1642 the levees broke killed 300,000 people.
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.
Now the river has large dams that control floods and provide electric power.
Yellow River is the national pride of the Chinese.
Berkshire Encyclopedia of China, 2009
cnta.gov.cn (China national tourism)