Landscape Changes and Increasing Flood Frequency in China's Poyang Lake Region
Jiangxi Province in southeastern China contains Poyang Lake, the largest freshwater lake in China. Poyang Lake and the lower sections of the major Jiangxi rivers flowing into the lake often flood during the early summer months. Floodwater can be several meters above the surrounding lowlands during the most severe flood events. Levees at the margins of Poyang Lake and along the Jiangxi rivers provide flood protection for about 10 million people. The number of severe floods in this region has increased rapidly during the past few decades, resulting in catastrophic levee failures. The three factors likely responsible for the increasing frequency of severe floods are (1) land reclamation and levee construction and (2) lake sedimentation, both of which reduce lake volume, and (3) increasing Changjiang water level, which slows Poyang Lake drainage.