Waiting for a miracle called rain (2)

09:35, March 18, 2010      

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150-meter-deep well

On Tuesday, excavators dug a 150-meter-deep well, hitting water in Ershan county of Yuxi - the first taste of success after two weeks of excavation in six cities across the parched province.

The well, which is expected to provide 500 cubic meters of water daily, will feed more than 4,000 people in Huanian town, which has 12 rural communities and a secondary school, said Li Lianju, deputy chief of land and resources in Yunnan.

"We aim to dig at least 1,000 wells across the province to provide water for up to 1 million people," said Li.

Chen Zhenlin, spokesperson of the NMC, said the local weather departments are ready to "seed clouds" to create rain when the weather permits.

There was mild to medium snow on March 10 after the Yunnan meteorological bureau fired 552 "cloud bombs".

But the possibility of the drought continuing in spring and early summer is high, NMC's Zhu Yong said on Wednesday.

It has already affected many industries including metal smelter factories and forestry companies.

Analysts said if it continues, many companies and factories will have to close temporarily, with the shortage of electricity in Yunnan reaching 20 percent of its usual level.

Lin Erda, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said the drought-hit areas are not major grain producers and the drought will have no great impact on the country's total grain yield.

China largely relies on the northern and central regions for grain output.

Severe drought has also plagued neighboring Guizhou province, where 17 million people are short of drinking water, the provincial flood prevention and drought relief office said.

About 86 of 88 cities and counties in Guizhou have experienced their worst drought in eight decades, it said in a press release.

The high temperature and few rains in Guangxi caused 331 forest fires from Feb 1 to March 10 with a year-on-year increase of 70 percent.

Xinhua contributed to the story
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