From: Associated Press
Published November 23, 2004 12:00 AM

Southern China's Guangdong Orders Closure of Hydropower Plants to Save Water

SHANGHAI, China − More than 100 hydroelectric plants in southern China have been ordered shut to preserve water for farming amid an extended severe drought.


The closures have reduced power generation in Guangdong province by 1 million kilowatt hours since Oct. 15, according to a report viewed Tuesday on a Water Resources Ministry Web site.


Eastern Guangdong has been struck by its worst drought in 51 years, severely affecting water levels in the Dongjiang River that is the source of drinking water for more than 36 million people.


About 65 percent of the province's land area has been affected by water shortages, parched crops and reduced power supply, reports in Guangdong's official media said. Drought has affected more than 730,000 hectares (1.8 million acres) of crops in the province, a key agricultural region as well as a manufacturing powerhouse, the official Xinhua News Agency reported earlier this month.


About 36,000 hectares (89,000 acres) of crops have been abandoned altogether, Xinhua said.


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Guangdong Vice Governor Li Ronggen has ordered rationing of water to industry and a tiered pricing system for water amid measures to encourage conservation, according to reports in the province's official media.


Further drought will trigger the closure of industries that use large amounts of water, temporary increases in water prices, and the abandonment of crops that rely heavily on irrigation, the reports said.


Losses to industry and agriculture have yet to be totted up.


However, between January and October, small hydropower plants in the Guangdong have suffered 2 billion yuan (US$242 million; euro 185 million) in losses as a result of the drought, according to the Water Resources Ministry Web site.


Source: Associated Press


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