Checking work at the open channel of the Three Gorges project has begun, with the diversion channel of the Yangtze River scheduled to be dammed up in November 2002, and the scheme set to go online in August 2003.

At a technical symposium on 26 August 2002, general manager of the Yangtze River Three Gorges Corporation, Lu Youmei, said that in November, the Yangtze river will be totally blocked and forced to flow out from the 22 bottom diversion outlets of the dam. Two cofferdams would then be put up during the closure to preserve water for navigation.

The Three Gorges reservoir is scheduled to retain water from April next year, with the water level due to rise to 135m by June and finally reaching 175m in the long term. By then a manmade lake with a total capacity of 39.3m3 B of water will appear in the enclosure of mountain peaks.