Beijing Water

Worst drought in 50 years goes on

August 22, 2006

Sizzling temperatures and the worst drought in 50 years will continue to ravage southwest China’s Sichuan province and Chongqing municipality despite showers that started on Sunday.

Sizzling temperatures and the worst drought in 50 years will continue to ravage southwest China’s Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality despite showers that started on Sunday and are forecast to hit most areas of western China in the next three days. Parts of Chongqing’s city proper bathed in light showers on Sunday evening and the temperature fell by at least 5 degrees Celsius, but local meteorologists said the rain did little to ease the drought across the municipality and the Sichuan Basin. The central meteorological station also predicted that the drought would continue in most areas of the municipality. While most parts of southwest China will see temperatures fall from last week’s record high 44.5 degrees Celsius, the station forecasts that the mercury will still hover around 35 to 37 degrees in most parts of Chongqing and the Sichuan Basin.

In the hottest areas, the high temperature may still hit 40. A press release by the municipal flood control and drought relief headquarters on Sunday said the drought in Chongqing Municipality had reached its peak. Drinking water shortages had hit 7.84 million people in 37 districts and counties in Chongqing, and the drought has caused 3.75 billion yuan (US$470 million) in losses, it said. Local governments had arranged 13,420 water wagons and dug nearly 30,000 new wells to provide water for 4.24 million people, the city said. “This is the worst drought I’ve ever experienced,” said Nie Zhongchang, a 61-year-old peasant in Changli Village of Anju District in Suining, one of the worst-hit cities in Sichuan Province. “All the paddies have dried up,” he said as he pointed at the cracks in the terraced soil after two months without rain. The villagers had been rationing every drop of fresh water from one small bucket a day for each family. A basin of fresh water is used to wash rice and vegetable before it bathes the entire family. Li Biquan, 73, and his wife toiled in the field under the scorching sun in Yujiaba Village, Wusheng County in Guang’an. “We can’t believe this – a half year of hard work has come to nothing.” The Sichuan provincial government said 112 of all the 181 counties and districts in the province were suffering from the drought.


Categories: Beijing Water

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