Heavy rains across southern China are pushing the Three Gorges Dam to the limit. Concern is growing over whether the massive dam can control flooding on the Yangtze River. Water levels in the dam have reached their highest since 1998, forcing the evacuation of thousands.
China's massive Three Gorges dam may overflow as torrential rains swell the rivers that feed it.
According to state-run media, the flow of water to the giant reservoir on the Yangtze River reached its peak on Tuesday morning. The water level in the dam was even higher than in 1998 when devastating floods killed over 4,000 people and forced some 18 million to relocate.
The water level in the dam had reached 500 feet, 82 feet short of its maximum capacity.
Environmentalists warn the reservoir could turn into a cesspool of sewage and chemicals or silt up.
Much of southern China has been suffering flooding and landslides after weeks of torrential downpours. Thousands of people have been evacuated along the Yangtze and its tributaries as water flooded cities and villages alike.
At least 146 people have died since the start of this month as a result of the rains, and another 40 are missing.
Altogether over 38 million people have been affected and more than 1.3 million have had to be evacuated.