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Rare Drought Hits South China Province

There has been no rainfall or onlyslight rainfall in most parts of south China's Guangdong Province since the beginning of this year, extending a rare drought that began last fall.

Local rivers, ponds and reservoirs have dropped to very low levels, with some already out of water.

Farming and people's daily lives are affected. In certain farming areas, it is too dry to plant crops and some crops have withered. In Shenzhen, the worst hit area of the province, reservoir storage has dropped to half its normal level. In some parts of the city, fire engines and water spraying vehicles have been borrowed to carry emergency water supplies.

Zhu Zhaohua, deputy director-general of the provincial water resources department, attributed the rare drought mainly to scarcerainfall, wasteful use of water and inadequate water conservation facilities.

He said car washing businesses in Shenzhen annually used enoughwater to fill a medium-sized reservoir. Shenzhen's water facilities were designed to serve 1 million people, but the population had already swelled to more than 7 million.

The provincial government has sent task forces across the province to direct drought alleviation efforts. Meanwhile, water conservation experts called on people to find the root cause of the scarcity, and use water sparingly while opening up more water resources.

(Xinhua News Agency May 4, 2002)

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