The People's Republic of China (PRC), long confronted with frequent and disastrous flooding, had in the past constructed a vast network of dams and reservoirs for irrigation, water supply, and flood control. These complemented various older works, which failed during major floods due to inadequate system maintenance. However, even these newer ones needed remedial work since these did not meet acceptable standards. Also, continued population growth in flood-prone areas exacerbated the risks of physical and economic damages caused by flooding. Given these risks, the government recognized that an integrated river basin-wide approach to flood and water management, supplemented by flood forecasting and early warning systems and institutions capable of implementing this approach, was needed as an alternative to the traditional and rudimentary tack of handling flood control.
Songhua River, one of the country's major systems and host to major wetlands of international significance, could inflict severe flood damage during heavy rainfall. The worst flood in over 2 centuries happened in 1998, displacing some 3.4 million people and causing property damages that ran up to $7.3 billion. As a consequence, the level of poverty in the region had increased. This catastrophic event spurred the government to shift its focus from flood control to an approach that combined nonstructural flood control measures with flood control works that involved strengthening of existing dikes, building new ones, rehabilitating, and upgrading reservoirs for wetlands management. It also underscored the need to simultaneously strengthen all concerned institutions involved and upgrade corresponding project management capacity.
This report validates the completion report's assessment of the project which aims to reduce flood damage in the basin through an integrated river basin management and improved flood protection. IED overall assessment: Successful