Hose begins taking water to dry village
Updated: 2011-09-28 07:32
By Qiu Bo (China Daily)
Tan Guanglian, a local farmer, fetches water at Bailong village in Guizhou province on Sept 19. As a result of a continuing drought, villagers in the region have had to use water from other towns to meet their basic needs. WANG JING / CHINA DAILY
GUIDING, GUIZHOU - Tan Guanglian, a 26-year-old villager from a remote village in Guizhou province, at one time would not have been able to believe her family could obtain fresh water without walking for miles.
But a little more than a week ago, a 13.7-km rubber hose, with a diameter of six centimeters, began taking water from a neighborhood in a nearby county and bringing it to the front door of her house.
Tan and about 2,300 village residents, most of them belonging to the Miao and Bouyei ethnic groups, have never during their lives been able to escape their worries about water shortages.
"We are forced to wash our feet with water that has washed our faces," said Xu Yunchang, a 66-year-old villager. "After that, the turbid water will be used to wash clothes."
"The experts did an investigation of water resources there several years ago and found an underground cavern that was dozens of meters deep," said Song Linglin, an official from the county's water resources bureau. He said that discovery indicated there is no way villagers can pump water underground.
A drought that began in late June has severely hit Guizhou province, devastating millions of hectares of crops and depriving residents of water. That made matters in the village, which is named Bailong, only worse.
An improvement came, though, on Sept 12, China's traditional Mid-Autumn Day. Li Yuecheng, the former mayor of Qiannan Bouyei and Miao autonomous prefecture, arrived then to survey the damage inflicted by the drought and to learn about the villagers' hardships.
According to Min Yingru, a 54-year-old villager, Li took the occasion to say the government should work to ensure local residents have a steady supply of drinking water.
Trying to find the best way to meet that goal, county officials immediately got in touch with the officials in charge of a nearby town that had enough water stored to meet its own needs.
Local governments worked together to pay the 600,000 yuan ($94,000) needed to lay the hose line. The work was completed in seven days.
"The engineers worked against time, day and night, and they even slept in the fields," said An Yufei, a local official.
By Sept 18, water was moving through the hose. "The government did some solid work for us," said Xu Yunchang with a smile on his face.
By Friday, about 21 million people in Guizhou had been affected by the drought and more than 6.5 million people there did not have enough drinking water, according to an announcement released by the provincial civil department.
The report also said 1.85 million hectares of crops have produced lower yields or even totally failed, which caused a direct economic loss of 15.3 billion yuan.
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