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Lake Gaoyou

Lake Gaoyou is a smaller freshwater lake (around 270 sq km), than its nearby neighbor, the Lake Hongze, from which is very close one another. The lake is situated in the border between two provinces, Jiangsu and Anhui. Gaoyou City, under the jurisdiction of Yangzhou, is on the east of the lake.

The water of the Lake Hongze runs southwards into the Lake Gaoyou and then further flows southwards into Yangtze River. There are canals connecting the lake with the Grand Canal to drain water for irrigation of adjacent farmlands.

In history, the Yellow and Huaihe rivers had multiple course changes forth and back, forcing the water flooding into the lakes of Hongze and Gaoyou. The results were severe and caused the size expansion of two lakes. This really made the lakes vulnerable in controlling water and preventing flooding. The most devastated catastrophe, caused by massive rain, powerful typhoon, and the worst levee breaks, happened on August 26, 1931. Mr. Thomas “Lyt” Harnsberger, an American missionary serving in local churches at that time, witnessed the most devastating natural disaster in the world record. The disaster drowned 140,000 people, killed about 3.7 million, and flooded a size of a land almost equal to New York State, New Jersey, and Connecticut in total.

After continuous effort in improving levees and controlling water since the disaster, the lake situation has much been changed. The North Jiangsu Irrigating System has now greatly increased the capacity of flooding prevention.

There are plenty of aquatic products produced by the lake, including crabs, shrimps and tortoise that have a good reputation. Now a tourist route, titled "Water-sight Tour of Lake Gaoyou" is providing an excellent opportunity for tourists to see the beauty of the lake.

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