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Chongqing Moves to Alleviate Water Shortage
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Drought-parched Chongqing Municipality in southwest China has taken new measures to alleviate a severe water shortage which has affected more than six million residents for several days.

The municipal drought prevention headquarters has ordered all hydropower plants in the municipality not to store water for electricity generation until the water shortage abates.

It ordered local factories to cut down on water use, and villages to dig wells and build pools to capture rainfall, headquarters officials said.

The headquarters has sent out 40 water wagons a day to provide water for residents and called on people to be thrifty in using water.

"I have three big barrels to store the water from washing vegetables and clothes, and I reuse it to clean floors and flush the toilet," said Li Zonglian, a local resident.

Staff from the meteorological station will trigger artificial rain. Farmers are being encouraged to use seeds that can better endure drought.

Chongqing, which straddles the Yangtze river, is in the throes of a severe drought after a heatwave last summer and a long period of low rainfall. Its reservoirs are 55 percent down on their normal levels. Recent rainfall and water discharged from neighboring Sichuan Province have done little to quench the city's thirst for water.

The municipal meteorological station estimated the drought is likely to continue until late April when the flood season starts.

(Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2007)

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