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. 10 Million Face China Water Shortage

Farmers fix water pipes used to pump water from an almost dry reservoir on the outskirts of Shanquan township, in China's southwestern province of Sichuan, 25 March 2007. According state media, nearly 10 million people across southern and southwestern China are suffering from drinking water shortages due to a fierce drought, while in 2006, China experienced an increase in extreme weather events, including a severe drought in the southwest, which the country's top meteorologist said last month were likely caused by climate change. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) March 26, 2007
Nearly 10 million people across southern and southwestern China are suffering from drinking water shortages due to a fierce drought, state media reported on Monday. A lack of rainfall has affected water supplies for 9.8 million people and 9.1 million head of livestock, the Beijing Morning Post said.

Both figures had doubled since early March, it said.

Precipitation has been scarce or non-existent and temperatures abnormally high so far this spring in the provinces of Sichuan, Guizhou, Hunan, Yunnan, Hainan, the region of Guangxi and the large municipality of Chongqing.

The dry spell is affecting 25,833 square kilometres (10,300 square miles) of land, including 16,146 square kilometres of farmland, with crops withering in some areas, the paper said.

Large rivers and lakes in the affected region are 10 to 30 percent lower than normal, with water levels as much as 50 percent lower in some areas.

The conditions have reduced water levels in the Yangtze river to historic lows and raised concerns over the massive Three Gorges dam's ability to generate power, state media reported last week.

China experienced an increase in extreme weather events last year, including a severe drought in the southwest, which the country's top meteorologist said last month were likely caused by climate change.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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