Drought in the Pearl River Delta has spread from rural areas into the cities and forced millions to deal with shortages or outright lack of water, reported China Daily on Tuesday.
The cities of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Huizhou, Dongguan and Zhongshan are all experiencing water shortages, said an official from the Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Water Conservation.
Water reserves at the major reservoirs in the province are going down by 320 million cubic metres a day, worsening the effects of the drought.
Many waterworks in the province have been forced to stop production.
The province is hoping to counteract the effects of the drought through more investment and by sending three teams of water conservation experts to drought-hit areas.
Plans are also in the works to create more artificial rain later this year.
By Sunday, more than 2 million residents in 83 cities and counties in the province had been affected.
Of those, 32 cities and counties were undergoing serious drought.
Some 1.2 million people do not have enough water.
Plenty of domestic animals were reported to have been killed by the lack of water in the eastern, western and northern parts of the prosperous province, the official said.
More than 651,790 hectares of farmland in the entire province have been seriously affected.
And 160,000 hectares of farmland have lost their crops.
He Jiangxia, an expert from the Guangdong Provincial Observatory, said the drought in Guangdong is expected to continue until the spring. Guangdong is unlikely to get much rainfall in the next three to four months.
Located in a subtropical zone, the coastal Guangdong Province used to be hit by floods in summer.
In Guangzhou, the continuous drought has affected about 53,333 hectares of rice fields.
And 12,667 hectares are expected to be complete crop failures.
In Meizhou, in the eastern part of the province, more than 50,000 people do not have enough drinking water.
More than 20,000 hectares of crops were affected.
The rainfall in Meizhou was only 1,160 millimetres in the first nine months this year, a reduction of more than 20 per cent from last year.
And in Suixi County of western Guangdong, drought has caused losses of more than 200 million yuan (US$24 million) after more than 30,667 hectares of rice, sugar cane and other crops were affected.
The other cities that have been hardest hit by drought include Shaoguan, Jieyang, Yunfu, Zhaoqing, Shantou, Chaozhou in Guangdong's mountainous areas.
South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Hainan Province are also being hit.
More than 2.15 million residents in Guangxi have been affected by the lack of water.
Lu Bing, chairman of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said fighting the drought and ensuring a good harvest have become the region's top priorities.
Source: China Daily