Yangtze River sees near-record low water levels

Updated: 2011-05-14 19:08
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WUHAN - A severe drought has pushed down the water levels in the middle section of Yangtze River, China's largest, to near record low, local authorities said Saturday.

The water levels in the section between Yichang in the central province of Hubei and Jiujiang in the eastern province of Jiangxi were 2.5 to 5.6 meters lower than average levels, the Hubei provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters said in a statement.

The more down the section, the bigger the gap with average water levels, it said.

The water levels between Wuhan, capital of Hubei, and Jiujiang, were near the all-time low.

The headquarters have asked the operator of the Three Gorges Dam in Yichang to release more water to boost the water levels in the downstream and help ease the drought.

The drought has plagued provinces including Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi along the river. In Hubei alone, some 400,000 people suffered from drinking water shortages and 870,000 hectares of crops were affected.

In the January-April period, the Yangtze River basin had received 40 percent less rainfall than the average amount over 50 years.