(March 31, 2010) Southwest China is enduring a savagely long drought, forcing the government to resort to cloud-seeding measures. Yet artificial rain has been slight, and not enough for the farmers who haven’t seen natural rain since October.
Now the drought’s damage is extending beyond agriculture and drinking water and beginning to erode power production capacity, just as happened in Venezuela recently due to long-term mismanagement.
Output from dams in Yunnan province is reported to have fallen by as much as 70 percent. In Guizhou province and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, electricity output is in dire straits—with reports claiming generation has fallen by 90 percent.
Officials with the China Southern Power Grid, which controls power for five provinces and autonomous regions in Southwest China, say ensuring supply represents an “arduous task”.
A population roughly the size of France, and over twice that of Venezuela, has been affected by the calamity, which is said to be the worst drought in a century.
Worse yet, the list of cities listed as in crisis is expanding. Two cities, Liuzhou and Laibin, where water levels dropped 90% in some places, were just added to crisis list according to the Canadian Press.
The combination of food supply pressure, drinking water supply pressure, and now power supply pressure will present severe challenges for the affected local economies.
Hopefully, expected rainfall in the next two days will provide some relief.
Vincent Fernando, Business Insider, March 31, 2010