Beijing, June 5 : Tangjiashan, the "quake lake" in China's Sichuan Province, is likely to be drained soon, today or thereafter.
The timing of actually draining the lake, will be decided by water inflows from its upper reaches, said Liu Ning, Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) Chief Engineer on Wednesday.
According to Liu, the catchment area in the upper reaches covers 3,350 sq km. It is estimated that a 2 mm rainfall in the area will mean a rise of 1 meter in the water level of the lake.
The trapped water volume rose to a height of 211.6 million cubic meters on Wednesday, according to the quake control and relief headquarters with the MWR.
Weather experts consulted by the Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Meteorology on Tuesday predicted scattered thundershowers and two more rainy days on Thursday and Friday around Tangjiashan lake, with rainfall to peak on Thursday night and hit 20 mm. It is being stressed that great efforts should be made to guarantee the smooth drainage of the quake lake to "ensure the safety of people downstream".
Past weather records show that, rainfall for June, July and August over the Tangjiashan area stands at 140 mm, 360 mm and 330 mm, respectively. Rainfalls of such levels would pose a grave danger to the quake lake.
As quoted in the China View, there are three plans to move survivors if necessary. The target is zero deaths, according to Tan Li, Mianyang City Communist Party chief and also chief of its Quake Control and Relief Headquarters.
Plan I is to relocate 158,000 people if one-third of the lake breaches its banks. Actually, more than 250,000 people in Mianyang City have already been relocated.
The other two plans require the relocation of 1.2 million people if half the lake volume is released or 1.3 million if the barrier fully opens. . Tangjiashan lake is on the Jianjiang River and 3.2 km from the hard-hit Beichuan County, which was rocked by a 7.9 magnitude quake on May 12. It is one of the 35 lakes formed after landslides triggered by the quake-blocked rivers in the mountains.