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Cloud Seeding Works in Drought-hit Regions

Cloud seeding, an artificial rain-making technique, has helped relieve severe drought in parts of China.

Chen Zhiyu, a division director with the State Meteorological Administration, told China Daily yesterday: "Now we are using this method in Beijing and other drought-hit areas to create rainfall."


Experts and rain-making workers have been stationed upstream of the Miyun and Guanting reservoirs, Beijing's main sources of drinking water, preparing to make more rain and expand the water that the Chinese capital has stored.


In June and July, dozens of silver-iodide missiles were fired in Beijing to alleviate the dry spell.


Zhou Xiaoping, an expert with the Beijing Special Meteorology Office, said the artificial rainfall will help plants grow, increase the water level in reservoirs and add water to the barren soil.


Although it has rained much more frequently this year than in previous years, the precipitation in Beijing remains below the Chinese average, he said.


More artificial rainfall projects can be expected in the next few days, according to the local weather control office.


The severe drought since June in central China's Hunan and east China's Zhejiang and Jiangxi provinces is continuing. Local water-conservation and meteorological departments are seeking every possible opportunity to induce artificial rain.


Some 6.67 million hectares of Chinese farmland have been affected by drought, and about 8.5 million people across the nation still face problems because of the drought.


But the severe drought has been eased in some areas thanks to cloud seeding.


Local sources said yesterday the cloud-seeding operations have brought about 10 to 20 millimeters of rain to several counties in Hunan Province.


Consistently high temperatures and scant rainfall have caused great problems for people in Jiangxi Province.


Statistics released by the provincial flood-control and drought-relief headquarters show that, by Monday this week, some 1.56 million people and 910,000 head of livestock in the province had suffered from a shortage of drinking water.


Some 1.32 million hectares of farmland have been affected and certain crops will provide no harvest this season. The drought disaster has inflicted economic losses of some 1.4 billion yuan (US$168 million) on Jiangxi, including 1.2 billion yuan (US$145 million) in losses to agriculture.


The provincial authorities are working to combat the drought, including by digging new wells and dispatching water tankers to residents in affected areas.


(China Daily August 1, 2003)

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