Cloud seeding, well drilling adopted to curb expanding drought

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South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, hit by the worst drought in a century, would rely on well drilling and cloud seeding to ease the situation, regional authorities said Monday.

Guangxi aims to drill 100 wells by May 10. Workers had started drilling 31 wells, while equipment was being deployed to drill 64 more, said Tian Fengming, deputy head of the regional land and resources department.

A total of 520 cloud seeding shells had been delivered to regional capital Nanning City. The shells were to be sent to drought-hit areas for artificial precipitation when weather conditions permitted, he added.

Liuzhou and Laibin cities in Guangxi were now part of the worst-hit areas, as the drought continued to intensify, said a spokesman with the regional flood control and drought relief headquarters.

In Liuzhou City, more than 132,500 people and 44,100 heads of livestock were short of drinking water. The drought also affected the irrigation of 64,393 hectares of cropland, he said.

The city had been suffering from drought for two seasons, and running water and rainfall had dropped by as much as 90 percent in some areas, he said.

In Laibin City, 106,000 people and 72,000 heads of livestock lacked adequate supplies of drinking water, and more than 70,400 hectares of cropland lacked irrigation, the spokesman added.

While in the neighboring prefecture of Xishuangbanna, one of Yunnan's major tourist destinations covered by tropical rain forest, rainfall has brought relief.

The meteorological observatory of Xishuangbanna reported rainfall of 30.2 mm to 42.9 mm from 8 p.m. Saturday to 10 p.m. Sunday.

The prefecture launched 159 cloud seeding shells to increase the rainfall from ten spots, according to a statement from the observatory.

The observatory also forecasted significant rainfall before Tuesday.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has pitched in the drought relief operation.

In Guangxi, tens of thousands of soldiers have been dispatched to deliver water to local villagers regularly.

The PLA Chengdu Military Area Command has prepared 17 aircraft for artificial precipitation operations.

On Monday, the military aircraft succeeded in making artificial rain in the Bijie prefecture in Guizhou Province, which received a precipitation of 9.3 mm.

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