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Severe drought dries up reservoirs, affects crops in East China

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-11-13 19:51
Drought has turned what was a pond into dry land in Hefei, Anhui on Oct 22, 2019. [Photo/IC]

HEFEI - The worst dry spell in decades has dried up nearly a quarter of reservoirs in East China's Anhui province, disrupting drinking water supplies and affecting the planting of crops.

Over 24 percent of nearly 6,000 reservoirs in the province have dried up, with the amount of water in the small- and medium-sized reservoirs down more than 40 percent from their level in normal years.

By Monday, the severe drought had affected the domestic water supply for 384,300 residents in 10 cities, according to the provincial department of emergency management.

Zheng Xiaoying, 79, is among more than 1,000 affected people in Xiangmingshan village in Taihu County. Local authorities now send water to the villagers twice a day, said Zheng.

A small reservoir one kilometer from Zheng's home has nearly dried up, with the amount of water having fallen to 500,000 square meters from 3 million square meters.

Meanwhile, the drought delayed the planting of 400,000 hectares of crops, and should it continue, it risks affecting the grain output next year.

From Aug 12, the average rainfall in the province was nearly 70 percent less than the amount in normal years, hitting the second-lowest level since 1961 when weather records started, according to the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters.

The province on Saturday raised its drought emergency response to level III as the drought showed no signs of abating and threatened many areas with short water supplies and high risks of forest fire.

China has earmarked 605 million yuan ($86 million) to relieve drought and secure the water supply in provinces including Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi, Henan, Hubei and Hunan, as well as Chongqing Municipality, according to the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday.

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