Drought and warmer weather threaten wheat and water supplies

11:10, December 06, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

Unusually high November temperatures and low rainfall were threatening water supply and the growth of winter wheat in the North China Plain, a senior water resource official revealed on Saturday.

Chen Lei, minister of water resources and deputy director of the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters (SFDH), said at a preparatory meeting on drought relief that temperatures in most agricultural areas since mid-November were 1 C to 4 C higher than in previous years. At the same time there was a sharp reduction in rainfall in the North China Plain.

The SFDH revealed that a wheat planting area of 57.99 million mu (3.87 million hectares) was plagued by a drought caused by higher temperatures and water shortages in areas along the alluvial plain of Yellow River and Huaihe River. Some 1.77 million people and 1.55 million head of livestock have suffered shortages of drinking water.

The drought-affected area accounted for 19 percent of the country's winter wheat planting area. The drought's influence on next year's wheat yield was hard to determine as the yield will also depend on subsequent weather and drought relief work, Lu Bu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), told China Daily on Sunday.

In North China's Shanxi province, winter wheat in a planting area of 2.4 million mu (160,000 hectares) is suffering from drought, although it is not severe. The situation is likely to continue given the lingering windy and dry weather, Wang Zhiwei, deputy chief of Shanxi provincial climate center, told China News Service (CNS) on Thursday.

The average temperature in Shanxi was 3.4 C in November, 1.3 C higher than average, while rainfall in most areas of the province was down by 90 percent, CNS reported.

Chen said the drought was expanding rapidly, and the situation was even worse in areas without enough reserve water.

Chen also stressed that the government will give priority to safeguarding the supply of water for people's daily lives and to improving the management of water resources, in addition to enhancing weather monitoring and forecasting.

However, Lu from CAAS said that, in the long term, China needed to improve its water conservation to minimize losses from natural disasters such as flood and drought.

"Climate change poses many challenges for China's grain production and food security," Lu said.

"There is an urgent need to build more water conservation facilities, which will not only help us to better manage water resources but will also act as a solid foundation for natural disaster relief work."

China's National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday that the country's grain output rose 2.9 percent year-on-year in 2010 to 546.41 million tons. This marked the seventh consecutive year of growth for China's grain output.

The preliminary figure came from a sample survey in 31 provincial-level regions on the country's mainland.

According to the survey, the drought-ravaged south and southwestern regions, including the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, and Guizhou and Yunnan provinces, witnessed a remarkable decline in grain production this year. The combined grain output in the three provincial-level regions dropped 3.8 percent from the previous year to 40.48 million tons, the bureau said.

China's northeastern areas and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, however, reported a 13.4 percent surge in grain production this year, with the total output reaching 117.79 million tons.

Source: China Daily

(Editor:梁军)

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • U.S. President Barack Obama (4th L, front) shakes hands with outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen (1st R, front) as Vice President Joe Biden (3rd L, front), Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (2nd L, front), and Army General Martin Dempsey (1st L, front) look on during the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Change of Responsibility Ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, the United States, Sept. 30, 2011. Army General Martin Dempsey succeeded Mike Mullen to become the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff on Friday. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)
  • Chinese national flag guards escort the flag across the Chang'an Avenue in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 1, 2011. More than 120,000 people gathered at the Tian'anmen Square to watch the national flag raising ceremony at dawn on Oct. 1, in celebration of the 62th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. (Xinhua/Luo Xiaoguang)
  • Pedestrians walk along the barrier set by police on Wall Street in New York, the United States, Sept. 30, 2011. Police set up the fences to keep away the demonstrators of the Occupy Wall Street campaign. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)
  • Chinese Navy soldiers hold an evening party marking the upcoming 62nd National Day aboard Chinese Navy hospital ship "Peace Ark" in the Pacific on Sept. 28, 2011. The Chinese National Day falls on Oct. 1. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 30, 2011 shows the crowd at the plaza of Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, capital of China. The railway transportation witnessed a travel peak with the approach of the seven-day National Day holidays on Friday. (Xinhua)
  • A man wearing high-heel shoes takes part in the 3rd annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an event when men literally walk in women's shoes to raise awareness about ending violence against women, at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, Canada, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Zou Zheng)
Hot Forum Discussion