The precautionary purging at the Xiaolangdi Dam, which has occurred annually since 2002, is the latest high-tech attempt to prevent flooding and tame the Yellow River, which today threatens more than 80 million people. It carries sediment more concentrated than in any other river in the world — so much that tiny particles of sand and silt clog reservoirs, raise riverbeds, break levees and cause potentially catastrophic floods.
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