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Shrinkage of Poyang Lake threatens water supply

( Xinhua )

Updated: 2012-01-10

NANCHANG - The severe drought of the Poyang Lake has endangered the water supply for 120,000 residents living near the largest freshwater lake in China, local authorities said.

The water-surface area of Poyang Lake, located in east Jinagxi province, has shrunk to less than 200 square km this month, or five percent of its full size, revealing much of its underwater terrain and stranding fishing boats.

The declining water level has threatened the water supply to Duchang county, and local officials said 120,000 people might be affected by the pending water shortage.

Poyang Lake experienced an extended dry season starting last October, as persistent drought cut the water supply for the lake, which is fed by five rivers in Jiangxi and empties into the nation's longest river, the Yangtze.

And although seasonal shrinkage occurs every year, this year's drought was particularly severe. The water level at the Duchang Hydrometric Station fell to 7.95 meters, the lowest since its hydrometric recording started in 1952.

Improper human activities around the lake, including filling the lake for construction projects, were also blamed for compounding the situation in recent years.

To cope with the situation, the county government of Duchang has initiated emergency measures to ensure water supply, such as the installation of more pumps to get water from the further side of the lake and other reservoirs.

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