Chinese residents were urged yesterday to reduce their water consumption as fears mount of a drought that could last months.
A severe dry spell has parched northern regions since spring leaving 8 million rural people and 6.3 million livestock desperately short of drinking water.
Weather forecast agencies and water control authorities are warning that the drought may continue into next spring in northern China.
Vice-Premier Wen Jiabao encouraged Chinese residents to take a more frugal approach when using water.
Wen said yesterday that cities should formulate reasonable water consumption schemes, strengthen management of water usage and use the price of water as a lever to encourage people to save water.
The message was delivered at a national television and telephone conference on drought relief and water-control facilities construction, which was convened to devise key anti-drought policies for next spring.
"Water deficit in northern China has become a major stumbling block in the way of economic and social development," said Wen.
(China Daily December 4, 2002)