The state of China's second longest river, the Yellow River, is on the decline, which is a major cause for worry.
In the picture a boy is seen flying a kite on the Yellow River's Lanzhou section in March this year.
Li Guoying, director of the Yellow River Conservancy Committee, said in an interview with Xinhua on Friday that the Yellow River is suffering from pollution, silting and, most serious, a decreased water flow.
Li blamed the blatant abuse of water resources for the current dismal state of affairs.
According to Li, 60 percent of the water in the Yellow River has been tapped for human and economic use; a significant amount when compared to the internationally recognized limit of 40 percent utilization ratio.
"The overuse of water has led to repeated cases of the river drying-up leading to a worsening of the entire ecosystem of the river," Li said.
Statistics show that in the 27 years prior to 1999, the lower reaches of the Yellow River ran dry after 21 years for a total of 1,091 days.
Known as the cradle of early Chinese civilization, and now China's "sorrow", the Yellow River empties into the Bohai Sea in Shandong Province in east China, 5,464 km from its source in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau.
The river supplies water to 12 percent of China's 1.3 billion people and 15 percent of its farmland. However, it also carries 1.3 billion tons of silt from the Loess Plateau downstream the river each year, of which 400 million tons are washed down to the river's lower reaches.
Technical people test the water of the Yellow River's Shandong section in January this year.
(Xinhua News Agency, China.org.cn November 6, 2006)