From 24th to 28th June 2019, Professor Zhe Li and Dr Lunhui Lu from China visited Swansea University as guests of AMBER. The visit was funded by the Royal Society funded project “Adaptive barrier management in the river-reservoir continuum; a comparative study between Chinese and European Rivers”.
Professor Li and Dr Lu are both based in the Laboratory of Reservoir Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Chongqing, and were interested in learning about Adaptive Barrier Management in a European context from the work of the AMBER project.
Professor Li gave a fascinating presentation on the hydroelectric Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in Sandouping, Yiling District, Hubei, China. The Three Gorges Dam has been the world's largest power station in terms of installed capacity (22,500 MW) since 2012. Made of concrete and steel, the dam is 2,335m long and the top of the dam is 185m above sea level. The concrete dam wall is 181m high above the rock basis. The reservoir created by the dam measures 405 square miles. The dam decreases potential for flooding downstream and allows huge ocean going freighters to sail into the heart of China through the use of a ship lift - a hydraulic seesaw that raises and lowers vessels as much as 113m to traverse the dam.
Perfectly timed with glorious weather, Professor Li and Dr Lu visited the picturesque Pen Y Garreg Dam in Rhayader in the Elan Valley with Professor Carlos Garcia de Leaniz of Swansea University and Peter Gough and David Charlesworth of Natural Resources Wales. Pen y Garreg Dam is unusual in that it houses an access tunnel to the central tower which is lit by apertures in the downstream side of the dam, and our guests were invited to view the inside of the structure. The field visit concluded with a visit to Llyn Brianne reservoir in the headwaters of the River Tywi at Nantgaredig.