Sluicing of the Tangjiashan quake lake has started. Water levels reached the lip of the spillway cut earlier in the week on Saturday. Xinhua reports that work crews are trying to improve the flow so water can drain faster. The sluicing will stop the level of the lake rising further and hold the waters at a volume that engineers calculate won’t burst the dam created by landslides triggered by the May 12 earthquake.
Two key pieces of infrastructure lie downstream from the lake: the Fujiang river bridge on the Baoji-Chengdu Railway, an important part of the rail network in western China; and PetroChina’s Lanzhou-Chongqing pipeline which supplies 70% of Sichuan and Chongqing’s oil. If the pipe was ruptured, Sichuan has only three days of oil in store.