Huai River

Last updated
Huai River
Huai He
Huaihe Xingying Ferry.jpg
Huai River
Map of the Huai River
Native name淮河
Country China
Provinces Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu
Cities Xinyang, Fuyang, Lu'an, Huainan, Bengbu, Tianchang, Huai'an, Yangzhou
Physical characteristics
Length1,110 km (690 mi)
Basin size174,000 km2 (67,000 sq mi)
  average1,110 m3/s (39,000 cu ft/s)
Huai River
Wanfu Zha - CIMG3326.JPG
The Wanfu Floodgate (万福闸) near Yangzhou, Jiangsu, one of the major flood control projects in the area
Hanyu Pinyin Huái Hé
Postal Hwai Ho

The Huai River, formerly romanized as the Hwai, is a major river in China. It is located about midway between the Yellow River and Yangtze, [1] the two largest rivers in China, and like them runs from west to east. Historically draining directly into the Yellow Sea, floods have changed the course of the river such that it is now a major tributary of the Yangtze. The Huai is notoriously vulnerable to flooding.


The Huai River Qin Mountains line is sometimes regarded as the geographical dividing line between Northern and southern China. This line approximates the 0 °C January isotherm and the 800 mm isohyet in China.

The Huai River is 1,110 kilometres (690 mi) long with a drainage area of 270,000 square kilometres (100,000 sq mi). [1]


The Huai River originates in Tongbai Mountain in Henan province. It flows through southern Henan, northern Anhui, and northern Jiangsu.

Historically, the Huai River entered the Yellow Sea at Yunti Pass (modern day Yunti Village, in Huangwei Town of Xiangshui County) through a broad and level lower course. It was long used to irrigate the surrounding farmlands, and was the centre of an extensive network of canals and tributaries. Beginning in 1194, however, the Yellow River to the north repeatedly changed its course southwards to run into the Huai River. The resulting silting was so heavy that after the Yellow River changed back to its northerly course for the most recent time in 1897, the geography of the Huai River basin was changed significantly by the creation of new high lands, lakes, and the built-up silt of the Yellow River's historical southern course. As a result, water from the midsection of the river could not easily flow into the lower section, while water in the lower section could not find an outlet to the sea. The problem worsened in the Second World War, when the Nationalist government, in an attempt to check the pace of the Japanese invasion, flooded the lower Huai basin by opening the Yellow River's southern levee. The main stem of the Yellow River flowed through the levee breach for the next nine years, further disrupting the Huai river system. [ citation needed ]

The result of these changes was that water from the Huai River pooled up into Lake Hongze, and then ran southwards towards the Yangtze River. Major and minor floods occurred frequently, with the area suffering droughts in between floods. In the 450 years to 1950, the Huai River saw, on average, 94 major floods per century.

Attempts to solve the Huai River's problems have focussed on building outlets for the Huai River into the Yangtze River and the sea. Currently, the major part of the river's flow enters the Yangtze River via Lake Hongze. The North Jiangsu Main Irrigation Canal also diverts some of its water along its old historical course to the sea, and is planned to be upgraded with a new parallel channel. Several former tributaries also carry some water to the sea.

Related Research Articles

Levee Ridge or wall to hold back water

A levee, dike, dyke, embankment, floodbank or stopbank is an elongated naturally occurring ridge or artificially constructed fill or wall that regulates water levels. It is usually earthen and often parallel to the course of a river in its floodplain or along low-lying coastlines.

Grand Canal (China) longest canal or artificial river in the world

The Grand Canal, known to the Chinese as the Jing–Hang Grand Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the longest canal or artificial river in the world. Starting at Beijing, it passes through Tianjin and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the city of Hangzhou, linking the Yellow River and Yangtze River. The oldest parts of the canal date back to the 5th century BC, but the various sections were first connected during the Sui dynasty. Dynasties in 1271–1633 significantly rebuilt the canal and altered its route to supply their capital Beijing.

Yellow River second longest river in China

The Yellow River or Huang He is the second-longest river in China, after the Yangtze River, and the sixth-longest river system in the world at the estimated length of 5,464 km (3,395 mi). Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai province of Western China, it flows through nine provinces, and it empties into the Bohai Sea near the city of Dongying in Shandong province. The Yellow River basin has an east–west extent of about 1,900 kilometers (1,180 mi) and a north–south extent of about 1,100 km (680 mi). Its total drainage area is about 795,000 square kilometers (307,000 sq mi).

Hai River river in the Peoples Republic of China

The Hai River, also known as the Peiho, Pei Ho, or Hai Ho, is a Chinese river connecting Beijing to Tianjin and the Bohai Sea.

Distributary stream that branches off and flows away from a main stream channel

A distributary, or a distributary channel, is a stream that branches off and flows away from a main stream channel. Distributaries are a common feature of river deltas. The phenomenon is known as river bifurcation. The opposite of a distributary is a tributary. Distributaries are found where a stream nears a lake or an ocean. They can also occur inland, on alluvial fans, or where a tributary stream bifurcates as it nears its confluence with a larger stream. In some cases, a minor distributary can divert so much water from the main channel that it can become the main route.

North China Plain largest alluvial plain of China

The North China Plain is a large-scale downfaulted rift basin formed in late Paleogene and Neogene and then modified by the deposits of the Yellow River and is the largest alluvial plain of China. The plain is bordered to the north by the Yanshan Mountains, to the west by the Taihang Mountains, to the south by the Dabie and Tianmu Mountains, and to the east by the Yellow Sea. The Yellow River flows through the middle of the plain into the Bohai Sea.

Jiangsu Province of China

Jiangsu is an eastern-central coastal province of the People's Republic of China. It is one of the leading provinces in finance, education, technology, as well as tourism, with its capital in Nanjing. Jiangsu is the third smallest, but the fifth most populous and the most densely populated of the 23 provinces of the People's Republic of China. Jiangsu has the highest GDP per capita of Chinese provinces and second-highest GDP of Chinese provinces, after Guangdong. Jiangsu borders Shandong in the north, Anhui to the west, and Zhejiang and Shanghai to the south. Jiangsu has a coastline of over 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) along the Yellow Sea, and the Yangtze River passes through the southern part of the province.

Huaian Prefecture-level city in Jiangsu, Peoples Republic of China

Huai'an, formerly called Huaiyin until 2001, is a prefecture-level city in central Jiangsu province of Eastern China. Huai'an is situated almost directly south of Lianyungang, southeast of Suqian, northwest of Yancheng, almost directly north of Yangzhou and Nanjing, and northwest of Chuzhou (Anhui). Huai'an is a relatively small city in Chinese terms, but it produced three of the most important people in Chinese history: Han Xin, the renowned general who helped found the Han Dynasty, Wu Cheng'en (1500–1582), Ming Dynasty novelist, author of the Journey to the West; and Zhou Enlai (1898–1976), prominent Communist Party of China leader, Premier of the People's Republic of China from 1949 till death.

1938 Yellow River flood 1938 flood in China

The 1938 Yellow River flood was a flood created by the Nationalist Government in central China during the early stage of the Second Sino-Japanese War in an attempt to halt the rapid advance of Japanese forces. It has been called the "largest act of environmental warfare in history".

Hongze Lake lake

Hongze Lake or Lake Hungtse is in Jiangsu Province, China and is encompassed by the prefecture-level cities Suqian and Huai'an.

South–North Water Transfer Project

The South–North Water Transfer Project, also translated as the South-to-North Water Diversion Project is a multi-decade infrastructure mega-project in China. Ultimately it aims to channel 44.8 billion cubic meters of fresh water annually from the Yangtze River in southern China to the more arid and industrialized north through three canal systems:

The Si River is a river in Shandong Province, China. It also ran through the area of modern Jiangsu Province until floods in 1194.

Xuyi County County in Jiangsu, Peoples Republic of China

Xuyi County is under the administration of Huai'an, Jiangsu province, China. The southernmost of Huai'an's county-level divisions, it borders the prefecture-level cities of Suqian to the north and Chuzhou (Anhui) to the south and west. Xuyi is noted for production of crayfish.

Suzhou Creek river in the Peoples Republic of China

Suzhou Creek, also called Wusong River, is a river that passes through the Shanghai city center. It is named after the neighbouring city of Suzhou, Jiangsu, the predominant settlement in this area prior to the rise of Shanghai as a metropolis.

History of canals in China

The history of canals in China connecting its major rivers and centers of agriculture and population extends from the legendary exploits of Yu the Great in his attempts control the flooding of the Yellow River to the present infrastructure projects of the People's Republic of China. From the Spring and Autumn period onward, the canals of China were used for army transportation and supply, as well as colonization of new territories. From the Qin to the Qing, China's canal network was also essential to imperial taxation-in-kind. Control of shipbuilding and internal tariffs were also administered along the canals.

Ming Ancestors Mausoleum cemetery in Jiangsu, China

The Ming Ancestors Mausoleum is the first imperial mausoleum complex of the Ming dynasty, and a cenotaph located north of the former Sizhou City, Yangjiadun, in present-day Xuyi County, Huaian City, by Hongze Lake, north of Huai River Jiangsu Province, China. It was built by Zhu Yuanzhang, the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty, in 1385, for his great-great-grandfather, great-grandfather and grandfather. It is also the actual burial site of Zhu Chuyi, Zhu Yuanzhang's grandfather.

The North Jiangsu Main Irrigation Canal is located in the lower reaches of the Huai River, one of the major rivers in the north of Jiangsu Province, China. It originates at Gaoliangjian on Hongze Lake and runs through Hongze, Qingpu, Huai'an, Funing, Sheyang and Binghai county(or district) and joins the artificial estuary of Biandan Harbour. The canal is 168 km in length and can irrigate 1,720,000 hectares of farmland. The construction program was organized and directed by the headquarters of the Jiangsu Huai River management program between October 1951 and May 1952.

Guo River river in Peoples Republic of China

Guo River is a major tributary river on the left bank of Huai River. The source of Guo River is near Kaifeng, Henan province, which is very close to Yellow River. This river is generally an abandoned course of Yellow River. It does not have a remarkable water source and is recharged mainly by groundwater, rainwater and other rivers. Due to the influence of the changing path of Yellow River, the path of Guo River changed frequently throughout the history. The last time Guo River changed its path was during the 1938 Huayuankou flood of the Yellow River. Guo River reaches the Huai River in Anhui province. Guo River is almost entirely located on the plain. The total head of the entire Guo River is only about 59 meters which indicates a very low gradient. The lower section of Guo River is navigable.

Pan Jixun, courtesy name Shiliang (時良), pseudonym Yinchuan (印川), was a Chinese scholar-official and hydrologist of the Ming dynasty. He was noted for his monograph Overview of River Management.

1935 Yangtze flood

The 1935 Yangtze flood struck China during a decade of flooding, famine and social turmoil. It is considered to be the 5th deadliest flood in recorded history with a death toll of 145,000 and displacement of millions. As a result of the flood, millions of survivors were faced with many hardships. These problems ranged from displacement, injury, loss of property as well as food shortages and famine.


  1. 1 2 "Huai River". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2014.

Coordinates: 32°24′37″N115°24′14″E / 32.4103°N 115.404°E / 32.4103; 115.404