From: Associated Press
Published February 26, 2007 12:00 AM

Lack of Water in Yangtze Creates Shortage for One Million People

BEIJING -- Falling water levels in China's Yangtze River have left 1 million people short of drinking water, state media reported Monday.A severe drought has caused the water level in China's longest river to plunge over the last two weeks, severely cutting water-pumping capacity, Xinhua News Agency said.

Shapingba Waterworks, one of the largest suppliers of drinking water to the industrial city of Chongqing, said only one of 10 pipes used to pump water from the Yangtze was still in operation, Xinhua reported.

"If the water levels in the Yangtze and its upper tributary Jialing River continue to decline, we'll face a real crisis," Xinhua quoted an unnamed Shapingba spokesman as saying.

The local water bureau said water levels in the Yangtze and Jialing rivers had declined sharply because of a lack of rainfall, which followed a severe drought last summer.

The problem is expected to continue until the rainy season begins in May, Xinhua said.

China suffers from a water shortage in the northern part of the country, but droughts have also hit other areas hard.

Last summer's drought in the southwest of the country was the worst in 50 years, causing more than 8.9 billion yuan (US$1.1 billion; euro900 million) in economic losses, according to state media.

It affected parts of Chongqing and neighboring Sichuan province, leaving 18 million people without adequate drinking water, according to state media.

Source: Associated Press

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