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China's largest freshwater lake dwindles in severe drought


10:16, September 07, 2011

NANCHANG, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The water surface and water level of China's largest freshwater lake, Poyang Lake in the eastern province of Jiangxi, continue shrinking during lingering drought.

The water surface of the Poyang Lake, which sits along the Yangtze River, has contracted to 974 square km, far from the annual average of about 2,890 square km since 2000, said Tan Guoliang, head of the provincial hydrographic bureau.

As of Tuesday morning, the water level of Poyang Lake was 11.7 meters, or 3 meters lower than the annual average for the same period, he said.

Statistics released by the bureau show that from January to September the average precipitation in Jiangxi was 1,049 mm, which is 23 percent lower than the annual average.

Meanwhile, with less rainfall in the upper reaches, the water level of the Yangtze River has dropped as well, pulling water from the Poyang Lake.

The Poyang Lake water level is decreasing dramatically at a rate of 0.1 to 0.2 meters per day, Tan said.

During the worst spring drought in six decades, the lake dwindled to 400 square km in mid May, the local government said.


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