BEIJING (AFP) — The water level in southwest China's "quake lake" was still rising "dangerously" on Sunday, a day after the opening of a hastily-dug channel meant to drain it, state media reported.
"The water level of the Tangjiashan 'quake lake' in southwest China was continuing to rise dangerously on Sunday despite the operation of a man-made drainage channel since Saturday morning," Xinhua news agency reported.
The inflow of water into the lake was nearly five times more than the amount leaving it via the channel and as a result of natural leakage, Xinhua said, citing Zhang Ting, head of the hydro-meteorological bureau in Sichuan province.
"Controlling the lake outflow is critical for the dam's safety," Zhang said, adding that efforts to drain the lake would be boosted by the fact that there was no rain in the forecast for Monday.
Tangjiashan lake formed as a result of the devastating May 12 earthquake, which triggered a massive landslide that blocked the Jianjiang river. A massive body of water has built up since then.
Officials hope the channel -- and one currently being dug -- will relieve the pressure on the landslide barrier, preventing it from bursting and releasing torrents of water downstream.
In the space of three hours on Sunday morning, the level in the lake rose 12 centimetres (4.7 inches), according to data provided by Xinhua.
During the 15 hours prior to that, the lake had risen 68 centimetres, according to Xinhua.
The lake has become one of the most pressing issues in the aftermath of the quake that struck mountainous Sichuan, killing 69,136 and leaving 17,686 others missing, according to the latest toll issued Sunday.
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