The water level in the Yangtze River has significantly changed due to the effects of varied precipitation and dam operations, which have exerted significant effects on irrigation, navigation, and ecosystems. Based on the measured data and the proposed calculation method, we analyzed the adjustment mechanisms of the seasonal water level in the whole Yangtze River. The results were as follows. During the dry season, the rising precipitation and dam operation both increased the water level in the upper reaches and in the reaches from the Jianli to Datong stations during 1981–2014. Moreover, dam operations were the dominant factor (except at Datong station). In the reaches from the Yichang to Shashi stations, dam operations are the reason for the reduction of the measured water level in the dry season, while the rising precipitation had an opposite influence. During the flood season, dam operations helped to reduce the water level from the upper reaches to the estuary during 1981–2014, while climate variation stresses adversely affected the entire river basin. In the reaches between the Luoshan and Jianli stations, climate variation is the dominant factor for the increased water level during the flood season, while dam operation is the reason for the reduced water level at the other six hydrological stations.
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