Banqiao Dam

Last updated

The Banqiao Reservoir Dam (simplified Chinese : ; traditional Chinese :板橋水庫大壩; pinyin :Bǎnqiáo Shuǐkù Dàbà) is a dam on the River Ru (汝河), a tributary of the Hong River in Zhumadian City, Henan province, China. The Banqiao dam and Shimantan Reservoir Dam (simplified Chinese : ; traditional Chinese :石漫灘水庫大壩; pinyin :Shímàntān Shuǐkù Dàbà) are among 62 dams in Zhumadian that failed catastrophically or were intentionally destroyed in 1975 during Typhoon Nina. The dam was subsequently rebuilt.




Approximate location of Banqiao Dam Banqiaomap.png
Approximate location of Banqiao Dam

Construction of the Banqiao dam began in April 1951 on the Ru River with the help of Soviet consultants as part of a project to control flooding and provide electrical power generation. The construction was a response to severe flooding in the Huai River Basin in 1949 and 1950. [1] The dam was completed in June 1952. Because of the absence of hydrology data, the design standard was lower than usual. After the 1954 Huai River great flood, the upstream reservoirs including Banqiao were extended, constructed, and consolidated. Banqiao Dam was increased in height by three meters. The dam crest level was 116.34 meters above sea level and the crest level of the wave protection wall was 117.64 meters above sea level. The total capacity of the reservoir was 492 million m3 (398,000 acre feet), with 375 million m3 (304,000 acre feet) reserved for flood storage. The dam was made of clay and was 24.5 meters high. The maximum discharge of the reservoir was 1742 m3/s.

Cracks in the dam and sluice gates appeared after completion due to construction and engineering errors. They were repaired with the advice from Soviet engineers and the new design, dubbed the iron dam, was considered unbreakable.


Chen Xing (陈惺), one of China's foremost hydrologists, was involved in the design of the dam but he was also a vocal critic of the government's dam building policy which involved many dams in the basin. He had recommended 12 sluice gates for the Banqiao Dam but this was criticized as being excessive and the number was reduced to five. Other dams in the project, including the Shimantan Dam, had a similar reduction of safety features and Chen was removed from the project. In 1961, after problems with the water system were revealed, Chen was brought back to help. He continued to be an outspoken critic of the system and was again removed from the project.

1975 Banqiao Dam failure

In August 1975, the Banqiao dam collapsed, creating the third-largest flood in history which affected a total population of 10.15 million and inundated around 30 cities and counties of 12,000 square kilometers (or 3 million acres), with an estimated death toll ranging from tens of thousands to 240,000.


Within eleven years of the dam failure, the lower reach of the River Ru, esp. Zhumadian City, experienced several more disastrous floods. After many feasibility studies, the new Banqiao Reservoir reconstruction was listed as a key national project of The Seventh Five-Year Plan of China. The project owner was Huai River Water Resources Commission. The construction contractor was Changjiang Gezhouba Engineering Bureau. By the end of 1986, the rebuilding project commenced. On June 5, 1993, the project was certified by the Chinese government.

The reconstructed Banqiao Reservoir controls a catchment area of 768 km2 (297 sq mi). The maximum reserve capacity is 675 million m3 (178 billion gallons), a capacity increase of 34% above the capacity of the failed dam. The effective storage is 256 million m3 (67.6 billion gallons) and the corresponding normal high water level is 111.5 m (366 ft) above sea level. The flood control storage is 457 million m3 (121 billion gallons). The dam is made of clay and is 3,720 m (12,200 ft) long and 50.5 m (166 ft) high. The dam crest level is 120 m (390 ft) above sea level. The maximum discharge of the reservoir is 15000 m3/s (about 3.96 million gallons/s).


After the disaster of the Banqiao dam failure, the Chinese government became very focused on surveillance, repair, and consolidation of reservoir dams. China has 87,000 reservoirs across the country; most of which were built in the 1950s–1970s using low construction standards. Most of these reservoirs are in serious disrepair, posing challenges to the prevention and control of flood-triggered geological disasters in areas with a population of 130 million or more. China's medium and small rivers are considered to be the Achilles' heel in the country's river control systems. According to a report from 2010, by the Ministry of Water Resources, China has invested CN¥64.9 billion (US$9.72 billion) since the 1998 Yangtze River floods in repairing and consolidating the country's 9,197 degraded reservoirs, of which 2,397 are large or medium-sized, and 6,800 are key small reservoirs. [2]

See also

Related Research Articles

Zhumadian Prefecture-level city in Henan, Peoples Republic of China

Zhumadian is a prefecture-level city in southern Henan province, China. It borders Xinyang to the south, Nanyang to the west, Pingdingshan to the northwest, Luohe to the north, Zhoukou to the northeast, and the province of Anhui to the east.

Liujiaxia Dam dam

The Liujiaxia Dam is a major hydroelectric dam on the upper Yellow River, in Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture of China's Gansu Province. The dam and its hydroelectric facility are located in Liujia Gorge, or Liujiaxia, just downstream from where the Tao River flows into the Yellow River. The site is on the eastern outskirts of Liujiaxia Town. Since Liujiaxia Town is the county seat of Yongjing County, it is often marked on less detailed maps simply as "Yongjing".

Typhoon Nina (1975) Pacific typhoon in 1975

Typhoon Nina, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Bebeng, was the fourth-deadliest tropical cyclone on record. At least 229,000 people died after the Banqiao Dam collapsed and devastated areas downstream. The collapse of the dam due to heavy floods also caused a string of smaller dams to collapse, adding to the damage caused by the typhoon.

Geheyan Dam dam in Changyang Tujia Autonomous County, Hubei, China

The Geheyan Dam is an arch-gravity dam on the Qingjiang River, a tributary of the Yangtze River, in Hubei, China.

Longtan Dam dam in Tiane County, Guangxi

Longtan Dam is a large roller-compacted concrete (RCC) gravity dam on the Hongshui River in Tian'e County of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, a tributary of the Xi River and the Pearl River. The dam is 216.2 metres (709.3 ft) high and 849 m (2,785 ft) long; it is the tallest of its type in the world. The dam is intended for hydroelectric power production, flood control and navigation. The dam contains seven surface spillways, two bottom outlets and an underground power station. The Longtan ship lift, part of the dam complex, will be the tallest ship lift system in the world.

Biyang County County in Henan, Peoples Republic of China

Biyang County is a county of Zhumadian city in southern Henan province, People's Republic of China. It borders Queshan to the east, Tongbai to the north, Tanghe to the west, Luohe to the north, Sheqi and Nanyang to the northwest. Population was 950,000 in 2002. Area is 2,682 km2 (1,036 sq mi).

Dajia River river in Taiwan

Dajia River is a river in north-central Taiwan. It flows through Taichung City for 124 km. The sources of the Dajia are: Hsuehshan and Nanhu Mountain in the Central Mountain Range. The Dajia River flows through the Taichung City districts of Heping, Xinshe, Dongshi, Shigang, Fengyuan, Houli, Shengang, Waipu, Dajia, Qingshui, and Da'an before emptying into the Taiwan Strait.

Xiaowan Dam dam in Yunnan Province, Peoples Republic of China

The Xiaowan Dam is an arch dam on the Lancang (Mekong) River in Nanjian County, Yunnan Province, southwest China. The primary purpose of the dam is hydroelectric power generation and it supports a 4,200 MW power station. Constructed between 2002 and 2010 by Huaneng Power International at a cost of ¥32 billion, it is the world's second highest arch dam at 292 m (958 ft). It is also third highest among dams of all types behind Jinping-I and Nurek and the third largest hydroelectric power station in China.

Ertan Dam dam in Sichuan, China

The Ertan Dam is an arch dam on the Yalong River, a tributary of the Yangtze River in Sichuan Province, southwest China.

Chen Xing was one of China's foremost hydrologists and was involved in the design of the Banqiao Dam.

Banqiao may refer to:

Changheba Dam dam in Kangding, Sichuan

The Changheba Dam is a concrete rock-filled embankment dam on the Dadu River near Kangding in Sichuan Province, China. Initial construction on the dam began in 2006, before it was officially approved in December 2010 and impounded in 2016. Its power station was fully operational in December 2017. In July 2009, a landslide at the construction site killed four people while causing damage and temporarily blocking the river.

Danjiangkou Reservoir

Danjiangkou Reservoir(simplified Chinese: 丹江口水库; traditional Chinese: 丹江口水庫; pinyin: Dānjiāngkǒu Shuǐkù) is a multi-purpose reservoir in Xichuan County, Henan and Danjiangkou City, Hubei province, Central China. Created by the Danjiangkou Dam, it serves as a supply of water for the region as well as irrigation, electricity generation and flood control. It was constructed in 1958, and at the time was one of the largest reservoirs in Asia.

Techi Dam dam in Heping, Taichung, Taiwan

Techi Dam is a concrete thin arch dam on the Dajia River in Heping District, Taichung, Taiwan. Forming the 454 ha (1,120-acre) Techi Reservoir (德基水庫), the dam is built in the Tachien Gorge in Heping District, providing hydroelectric power, irrigation water, and some flood control, and is operated by the Taiwan Power Company. At 180 m (590 ft), it is the highest dam in Taiwan and one of the tallest dams in the world. The dam was completed in 1974 after five years of construction.

Longma Dam dam in Mojiang Hani Autonomous County, Puer City, Yunnan

The Longma Dam is a concrete-face rock-fill dam on the Lixian River in Mojiang Hani Autonomous County, Pu'er City, Yunnan Province, China. The primary purpose of the dam is hydroelectric power generation and it is the fourth of seven dams in the Lixian River Project. It supports a 240 MW power station. Construction on the dam began on 23 December 2003 and the reservoir began to impound 20 July 2005. In July 2007, the first generator was commissioned and the last two were in December 2007. The project was complete in June 2008 at a cost of US$332 million. The 135 m (443 ft) tall dam withholds a reservoir with a 590,000,000 m3 (478,321 acre⋅ft) capacity.

Mingde Dam dam in Touwu, Miaoli County, Taiwan

Mingde Dam is a rockfill dam across the Laotianliao River in central Touwu Township, Miaoli County, Taiwan. The Mingde Reservoir behind the dam serves mainly for irrigation and municipal water supply for Miaoli City. The dam consists of a main embankment 35.5 metres (116 ft) high and 187 metres (614 ft) long, holding back a reservoir with a capacity of 17.1 million cubic metres. The dam and reservoir control runoff from a catchment area of 61.08 square kilometres (23.58 sq mi). A spillway located to the north of the main dam consists of a six-bay gated overflow section, with a release capacity of 1,200 cubic metres per second (42,000 cu ft/s).

Kukuan Dam dam in Heping, Taichung, Taiwan

Kukuan Dam is a concrete thin arch dam on the Dajia River in Heping District, Taichung, Taiwan. The dam serves for hydroelectric power generation and flood control, and is the third in a cascade of hydroelectric dams on the Dajia River, being located below the Techi and Qingshan dams and upstream from the Tienlun Dam. The dam supplies water to a power station consisting of four 45 megawatt (MW) turbines for a total capacity of 180 MW, generating 507 million kilowatt hours per year.

Wushe Dam

Wushe Dam is a gravity dam forming Wushe Reservoir, also called Wanda Reservoir and Bihu, on the Wushe Creek, a tributary of the Zhuoshui River, located in Ren-ai Township, Nantou County, Taiwan. The dam was completed in 1960 after seven years of construction, and serves mainly to generate hydroelectric power.

The Fengcheng Reservoir is a reservoir on the Irtysh–Karamay Canal in China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. It is about 15 km north of the main urban area of Urho District of Karamay City; administratively, the location is near the border of Urho District and Hoboksar Mongol Autonomous County.

The 1975 Banqiao Dam failure was the collapse of 62 dams including the largest Banqiao Dam in Henan, China due to Typhoon Nina of 1975. In August 1975, the dam failure created the third-largest flood in history which affected a total population of 10.15 million and inundated around 30 cities and counties of 12,000 square kilometers, with an estimated death toll ranging from 85,600 to 240,000. The flood also caused the collapse of 6.8 million houses. The dam failure took place during the Chinese Cultural Revolution when most people were busy with the "revolution"; the Communist Party of China (CPC) as well as the Chinese government subsequently hid the details of the disaster until 1990s, when The Great Floods in China's History (中国历史大洪水), a book prefaced by Qian Zhengying who served as the Minister of Water Resources of China in 1970s and 1980s, revealed part of the information to the public for the first time.


  1. Thayer Watkins. "The Catastrophic Dam Failures in China in August 1975". San Jose State University . Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  2. ""China Costs Huge Investments to Repair Reservoirs" by Xinhua Agency on Oct 13, 2010".

Coordinates: 32°58′58″N113°37′24″E / 32.98278°N 113.62333°E / 32.98278; 113.62333