At least 121,000 people in south China's Hainan Province are
suffering from a shortage of drinking water caused by a drought
which has began in the winter.
The provincial meteorological department forecast that the lack
of rain would continue in the next two months and a severe drought
would occur in the province's southern and western regions.
The prolonged drought had also resulted in a shortage of 800
million cubic meters of water for agricultural production,
affecting 223,333 ha of farmland, said sources from the provincial
bureau of agriculture.
Xing Qiongyao, an official in charge of agriculture with Ledong,
a county in southern Hainan, said the county had 9,333 ha of
paddyrice fields, but farmers could only cultivate 2,000 ha because
of a lack of water.
"Farmers have managed to grow drought-resistant crops such as
sweet potatoes, maize and peanuts or melons on 5,333 ha," said
Xing. "The remainder has to be left idle."
The water shortage has also affected power generation at
Daguangba and Niululing hydropower stations, two main power
producers on the island.
Many areas have been forced to adopt measures such as
restrictions on power usage. In Haikou, the provincial capital,
power supply departments have imposed temporary blackouts at large
stores, hotels and industrial manufacturers, as well as at civilian
Hainan, with a mainly subtropical climate, has been a center for
out-of-season agricultural production in China. The province also
relies on tourism for revenue.
(Xinhua News Agency March 21, 2007)