Chinese water crisis : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK

Chinese water crisis

At least 16m people in China are short of drinking water as parts of the country suffer their worst drought in a decade. State-run media say the level of rainfall in parts of south-west and north-east China is down by up to 90%.

Some areas have had no rain for the past three months and the drought is expected to destroy huge areas of crops.

China, already a very dry country, has suffered droughts every summer for the past decade, and the once mighty Yellow River dries up for large parts of the year

Population increases

The current drought is the most widespread since 1990 and in some areas has lasted nearly 100 days, according to a report by the State Flood Control and Drought Prevention Headquarters.

In the north-east, wheat crops are expected to be smaller than usual and water levels in reservoirs are up to 46% below normal, said the report.

Unlike the Yellow River, the Yangtze is prone to flood And in the south-east provinces of Sichuan and Yunna, about 227,000 hectares (560,000 acres) of summer crops are expected to produce nothing this year.

A BBC correspondent in Beijing says the situation has been worsened by huge increases in population, agriculture and industry.

Sand storms in north China have also worsened the drought conditions by sucking away the soil's moisture content.

The Chinese government is proposing to pump billions of tonnes of water to the north from the southern Yangtze River to try to alleviate water shortages.

-- Martin Thompson (, May 31, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ