In China's southern province of Hainan, over 30,000 residents are facing water shortages as the drought affecting the island is expected to last until May, said local authorities Tuesday.
The province's reservoirs are down by 55 percent and some have dried up. Approximately 128,000 hectares of crops have been affected.
Yang Yunxian, director of the provincial drought control office, said the lack of rain was likely to continue through February and March with relief hopefully coming in May when the rainy season begun.
Rainfall in southwest areas of the province last year was about 30 percent less than average.
The Hainan provincial government has earmarked six million yuan (US$750,000) for drought relief with 600,000 yuan (US$75,000) going to the worst-hit Ledong County.
Local governments are assisting people dig deeper wells for drinking water and calling on farmers to grow crops which require less moisture.
(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2007)