Drought leaves nearly 1,400 reservoirs "dead" in central China province

16:16, May 16, 2011      

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A lingering drought in central China's Hubei Province has rendered 1,392 reservoirs virtually useless as only dead water remains in them, said the local water authority Monday.

Known as the "land of a thousand lakes," Hubei is suffering from a drought that has lasted for five months.

As of Sunday, water in four medium-sized and 1,388 small-sized reservoirs had dropped below the allowable discharge level for irrigation and other purposes, said Yuan Junguang, director with the reservoir management office of Hubei Provincial Water Resources Department.

One fourth of all small-sized reservoirs in Hubei were unusable with just dead water remaining in them which could only be pumped for use in an emergency, he said.

The water level of the Danjiangkou Reservoir, which is part of China's massive south-to-north water diversion project, was also extremely low, measuring 134.77 meters on Saturday, 4.23 meters below its dead water level.

Also as of Saturday, the drought had left about 315,000 people and 97,300 livestock in the province short of drinking water. About 12.45 million mu (about 830,000 hectares) of farmland have been affected by the drought, according to a survey conducted by the Hubei provincial agricultural department.

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