Beijing forecasts: Another year of drought
The nation's capital is facing a sixth straight year of drought, according to water officials, with water levels at two major city reservoirs falling to their lowest point in history.
Zheng Qiuli, an official with the Beijing Water Resources Bureau, said staff there have teamed up with meteorological department officials to try to take advantage of every opportunity to make artificial rainfall this year.
The time span for rain-making has been expanded to between April and September from the previous three month period usually prescribed, said Zheng.
Meanwhile, two airplanes will join in the rain-making battle for the first time along with rockets and ack-acks, she added.
Statistics show that artificial precipitation added 23.8 million cubic metres of water to the city's reservoirs last year.
The amount of rainfall equals 46 times the water volume of the Shichahai Lake in downtown Beijing.
Meteorological experts say Beijing has entered its most severe drought period since 1949.
They predict the amount of precipitation between June and August, which generally makes up 85 per cent of the total precipitation in a year, will only be 400-450 millimetres this year. That is far less than the average 580 millimetres per year experienced over past decades.
At a bureau working conference on Monday, officials announced the agriculture sector and other sectors should prepare for fighting drought again this year.
Ordinary people in Beijing will be impacted by the worsening situation, with price hikes for water expected and water-saving devices likely becoming necessary.
New p water-consuming projects, such as paper making and textile mills, will face a thumbs down from the municipal government.