Hiker finds pipe feeding China’s tallest waterfall

A controversy over a waterfall has cascaded into a social media storm in China, even prompting an explanation from the water body itself.

A hiker posted a video that showed the flow of water from Yuntai Mountain Waterfall – billed as China’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall – was coming from a pipe built high into the rock face.

The clip has been liked more than 70,000 times since it was first posted on Monday.

Operators of the Yuntai tourism park said that they made the “small enhancement” during the dry season so visitors would feel that their trip had been worthwhile.

“The one about how I went through all the hardship to the source of Yuntai Waterfall only to see a pipe,” the caption of the video posted by user “Farisvov” reads.

The topic “the origin of Yuntai Waterfall is just some pipes” began trending all over social media.

It received more than 14 million views on Weibo and nearly 10 million views on Douyin – causing such an uproar that local government officials were sent to the park to investigate.

They asked the operators to learn a lesson from the incident and explain the enhancements to tourists ahead of time, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

The park later posted on behalf of the waterfall saying, “I didn’t expect to meet everyone this way”.

“As a seasonal scenery I can’t guarantee that I will be in my most beautiful form everytime you come to see me,” it adds.

“I made a small enhancement during the dry season only so I would look my best to meet my friends.”

Located in central Henan province, the 312-metre Yuntai falls is located inside the Yuntai Mountain Geopark, a UNESCO Global Geopark.

Millions of visitors travel there every year, drawn by geological formations that date back more than a billion years.

Park officials told CCTV that the water they used to pump water into the falls was spring water, adding that it would not damage the natural landscape.

Many social media users appeared to be understanding of the situation.

“Yuntai park: Does this person not have better things to do?” a comment liked nearly 40,000 times on Douyin reads.

“I think it’s a good thing to do. Otherwise people would be disappointed if they end up seeing nothing there,” a user on Weibo said.

But there is also criticism.

“It’s not respecting the natural order, and not respecting the tourists,” a Weibo user wrote.

“How could it be called the No.1 waterfall anymore,” another user commented on Douyin.

This is not the first time artificial measures have been used to “help” famous waterfalls.

Huangguoshu Waterfall, a famous tourist destination in the southwestern Guizhou province, has been helped by a water diversion project from a nearby dam since 2006 to maintain its flow during the dry season.

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