Yangtze River diverted to ease drought in central China

14:44, May 19, 2011      

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Water from China's Yangtze River was diverted to central China's Hunan and Hubei provinces on Wednesday to ease a lingering drought in the region.

About 300,000 people living in the Huarong River valley near the city of Shishou in Hunan have had difficulty obtaining enough water for daily use, said Xue Jianhua, an official with the water resource bureau of Huarong County.

Neighboring counties in Hunan and Hubei have constructed a dam on the Yangtze and are diverting water from it to the Huarong River, Xue said.

The Huarong River recorded extremely low water levels on Wednesday, and residents living near the river have had to deal with limited supplies of water, according to Xue.

Covering an area of 1,679 square kilometers, the Huarong River runs into Hunan's Dongting Lake, China's second-largest freshwater lake.

A lingering drought has been affecting parts of central and southern China for more than four months, leaving residents and livestock without drinking water and drying up rivers across the region.

China's Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric power station, has been discharging larger amounts of water to help counter the severe drought in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River.

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