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More than 2 mln still with water difficulties in SW China's ongoing drought


15:47, November 09, 2011

KUNMING, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- More than two million people are having trouble finding drinking water in Yunnan as the province's severe drought continues, according to the latest figures.

On Nov. 3, 2.35 millon people in Yunnan were experiencing "drinking water difficulties", said Kong Chuizhu, vice governor of the province, on Tuesday.

The average accumulative precipitation recorded in Yunnan between the start of 2011 and Nov. 3 was 841 mm, the lowest figure for an equivalent period in Yunnan since meteorological records began, and 211 mm lower than the year's average figure for the province, he said.

On Nov. 3, authorities found 4.44 billion cubic meters of water stored in Yunnan's ponds and reservoirs, the lowest level in 17 years, according to Kong.

The figures also show the extreme weather's toll on agriculture. On Nov. 3, 1.32 million heads of livestock in Yunnan were found to be having trouble accessing adequate drinking water. And 12.32 million mu (about 821,300 hectares) of farmland were classed as affected by the drought. Over 900,000 mu are expected to produce no harvest next season.

Authorities' definition of "drinking water difficulties" considers such factors as the distance needing to be traveled before reaching water supplies.

Between the beginning of the drought (autumn 2009) and summer 2011, nine million people in Yunnan had experienced drinking water shortages, or been affected by agricultural or industrial production difficulties caused directly by the lack of water.

According to the provincial meteorological bureau, the drought conditions are likely to worsen in Yunnan in March and April 2012, with a delayed rainy season. The bureau also believes it is possible that the Yunnan drought will stretch into its fourth year.

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