Drought is now affecting southwestern Guangxi, the country’s largest sugar cane producer and a significant fruit growing region. While hot dry summers are typical, local authorities say this is the driest summer for 58 years. Though temperatures have not been much above average, rainfall has been 13% less than average this year with the past month being particularly arid. This has left 640,000 people and 300,000 head of livestock short of water. More than 280,000 hectares of cropland are affected. Emergency drought relief operations are being undertaken.
Meanwhile, over the past month relocation has started of some 440,000 people who will be displaced by the massive long-tern project to divert water from the (usually) rainy south to the arid north China plain. The plan calls for three artificial tributaries of the Yangtze River to be built, which will divert the equivalent volume of water to the flow of the Yellow River, the second longest river in China. The first two of the three phases of the project (details here) are due to be completed by 2013 and 2014 at an estimated cost of $34 billion. The third phase, the western route which will most benefit the areas of north China most affected by this year’s northern drought, is still in the planning stage.