As the drought continues to prevail in Shandong, a province on east China's seaboard, 1.32 million local residents have been thrown into a grip of temporary drinkable water deficiency, said local sources.
In the meantime, 790,000 head of livestock have been suffering from the temporary drinkable water shortage caused by the prolonged drought, said an official with the flood control and drought relief office of the provincial bureau of water resources.
And the drought has affected the growth of crops on 1.12 million hectares, or about one fifth of the province's arable land, and more than 200,000 hectares of farmland have been left idle because of a lack of water for irrigation, according to Fan Liju, senior engineer with Shandong Provincial Climate Center.
The level of underground water in some areas has been plunging, coupled with a worsened water quality, said local sources.
Shandong, the second most populous region in China, is one of the country's leading grain producers. But it has suffered a drop in the rainfall since last September.
Statistics from Shandong Provincial Meteorological Observatory show that only 51.4 millimeters of rainfall was recorded between Sept.1, 2006 and Feb.1, 2007, 83.7 mm less than normal years or 194 mm less than that for the same period a year ago.
The official with the flood control and drought relief office said the province was short of water for agricultural production in spring.
"We only have 10.9 cu m of water resources available at present, but the agricultural production would require a supply of 14.3 billion cu m of water resources," said the official.
(Xinhua News Agency March 3, 2007)