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Nakdong Estuary Bank

Nakdonggang Bike Path
Learn about the Nakdong Estuary Bank, a watergate at the end of the Nakdong River.

Two dams comprise the Nakdong Estuary Bank (낙동강하굿둑; map) near the Nakdong River’s end. They block the two streams flowing around Eulsukdo Island.

A picture of the Nakdong Estuary Bank on the Nakdonggang Bike Path (낙동강자전거길) in Busan City along the Nakdong River in South Korea.
A lion greets you on the Nakdong Estuary Bank’s east side bridge. Cross to Eulsukdo Island, the end of the Cross-Country Route.

The west dam hops from the Gimhae Delta to Eulsukdo. The east dam crosses from mainland Busan to Eulsukdo. 

What do they do? They have three jobs:

  1. Regulate the river flow and trap water to irrigate upstream crops and residents.
  2. Stop salt water from the Korea Strait flowing upriver and destroying freshwater habitats and farms.
  3. Calm and claim the Nakdong’s river banks and nearby coastline for development.

Compare the east and west dams’ control towers. The east has that 80s vibe. While the west towers sport modern curves. That’s because engineers didn’t build them at the same time.

Engineers completed the dam’s eastern section (map) in 1987. It measures 580 meters. The Four Rivers Project built the western dam in 2011. It spans 350 meters.

Together, the dams employ 10 sluice gates and one canal to allow small fishing vessels to pass from the river to the strait.

Like other Nakdong weirs, Nakdong Estuary Bank produced a few unintended effects. It created an ideal environment for algae to thrive, starving the river of oxygen. And it destroyed naturally occurring brackish (salt and fresh) water environments. 

Environmentalists successfully lobbied the estuary bank’s operators to open the sluice gates and return the region to its primordial state.