GUANGZHOU -- About 160 boats are jammed in a river in south China's Guangdong Province after a lingering drought lowered the water to an unnavigable level.
Some vessels ran aground in the Beijiang River, after levels receded by more than three meters to about four meters, blocking the waterway.
"The water level has been dropping over the past three days because of a lack of rainfall in this region," said an official with the Beijiang Waterway Administration Bureau.
"In some areas along the river, the water level is below one meter," he said. The bureau was still considering the best way of freeing the vessels.
"The only thing I can do is hope for a dredger to arrive and the rain," said one crewman sitting idly on a boat.
The 486-kilometer-long river is one of the most important waterways in Guangdong. It supplies water to millions of people and big cities including Foshan, Qingyuan and the provincial capital Guangzhou.
Guangdong has had no rain since the end of 2008, causing sustained drought in eastern areas. A weather forecast issued by the provincial meteorological observatory said most areas of Guangdong will have no rain in the week to come.