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Zipingpu dam threatens millions
The Zipingpu reservoir can hold a staggering 1.1 billion metric meters of water, but the dam wall was cracked after the earthquake. Dujiangyan, with a population of 600,000 would be devastated by a dam failure first. Within a couple hours, water would then hit the provincial capital, Chengdu.
“Dujiangyan would be hit first,” says Environmental sciences professor Ai Nanshan. “You can imagine water levels as high as two-story buildings within 10 minutes.