Taking a bath has become something of a luxury for Zhu Jiang.
The day before yesterday, for example, the 29-year-old bachelor was prevented from carrying out his normal ablutions because the local water pipes froze, cutting off the supply to everyone in his neighborhood in the Wuchang district of Wuhan, capital of Hubei province.
"When I arrived at home at about 11:30 PM, there was no water in the taps for drinking, let alone for a bath," he said.
"I had to spend the night in a nearby hotel, which cost me 330 yuan ($42)."
To Zhu's delight, the water supply to his apartment was switched back on yesterday.
He was told workers had worked through the night to repair the pipes.
Since Jan 12, thousands of Wuhan residents have experienced similar difficulties due to the heaviest snowfall to hit the city in 54 years.
The government is doing its utmost to help residents, officials said. Almost 80 percent of the 23,000 supply problems reported by residents had been resolved as of 1 pm yesterday, local authorities said.
The government has also mobilized 90,000 workers and 22,000 vehicles to repair the water supply network.
Wu Yuannan, a local government official, told China Daily he has been without water at his apartment for two weeks, but kind neighbors have been helping out.
Some residents who have water stored in their homes have put up notices on their doors offering less-fortunate people much-needed supplies.
"We are all in the same boat," Wu said.
(China Daily January 31, 2008)