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The 1998 Yangtze Floods: The Use of Short-Term Forecasts in the Context of Seasonal to Interannual Water Resource Management

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This paper reviews changes in the use of short-term climate information for water management in China after the 1998 Great Flood in the Yangtze River basin. This devastating flood is now believed to have been caused mainly by the 1997–98 El Niño event. Although the short-term climate forecasts and weather forecasts are considered to be useful in planning for flood prevention activities and for making key decisions during combating floods, the gap between the meteorological services (producers of climate forecasts) and water management agencies (users of climate forecasts) has grown in terms of credibility given to climate forecasting: weather services put more efforts on improving the technology for increasing forecast accuracy, whereas water managers put their efforts and investment into upstream ecological restoration and flood control systems. By reviewing the published and gray (unpublished) literature, we found that assessments of the 1998 Great Flood in the Yangtze River basin really helped the central government and water resources agencies to recognize the weaknesses of the existing flood control system, the mismanagement in the ecological systems, and the need for developing a national water resource management plan to deal with the problems of too much water, too little water, and very polluted water

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