Drought Worsens In Central And Southern China

The persistent drought in Hubei, a leading grain growing province, has left a quarter of its small reservoirs unusable. Water levels are also dangerously low in the Dajjiangkou reservoir, a part of the south-to-north water diversion project and which is fed by the Han River, shown in the photograph above. More than 300,000 people in Hubei are short of drinking water, according to state media. Some 830,000 hectares of farmland have been affected. Officials also say that water levels are at record lows in the middle section of Yangtze River that passes through Hubei and neighboring Jiangxi (the Han, shown above, flows into the  Yangtze at Hubei’s provincial capital, Wuhan). Drought, caused by far lower than normal rainfall because of a La Nina in the Pacific, is also affecting Hunan, Guangdong, Yunnan, Sichuan and Guangxi.

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6 Comments

Filed under Environment

6 responses to “Drought Worsens In Central And Southern China

  1. Dear China Bystander,
    I have a question – do you have any idea whether the numerous hydroelectric stations installed on China’s rivers could actually contribute to the drought in the lower reaches of these rivers ?
    regards

    • chinabystander

      We have general thoughts rather than data. Hydoelectric power generation requires at its most basic a dam and a reservoir. Constructing those will have an impact on land use and natural habitats in the surrounding areas. Such environmental impacts may not be the most significant factors in downstream water shortages, but they could contribute to them in some part. The demand for water caused by urbanization, irrigation and industrialization and the supply (rain, snow melts) are probably far more significant. Against that, the flow of water can be regulated by human intervention. The sluice gates on Three Gorges dam, for example, are being opened more during the current drought along the middle section of the Yangtze to let more water flow downstream than normal. — CB

  2. Pingback: Power Shortages Spreading | China Bystander

  3. Pingback: China’s Drought Now Officially Worst In 50 Years | China Bystander

  4. Update: There is a useful Q&A here on the extent to which the Three Gorges Dam is responsible for the drought. –CB

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