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Drought Hits North China Province
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More than 660,000 hectares of crops have been affected and 90,000 people are suffering from drinking water shortages as a prolonged drought refuses to loosen its grip on north China's Hebei Province, the provincial department of water resources said on Tuesday.

Zhangjiakou city, in northwest Hebei, is the worst hit. More than 200,000 hectares of cropland have been made affected and 32 small reservoirs have dried up.

Sprinkling irrigation, a water-saving agricultural irrigation technology, is popularized in drought-stricken rural areas of Hebei Province.

According to the provincial meteorological bureau, rainfall in Hebei in August was 39 percent less than the normal level.

A lack of rain has prompted the spread of drought in the province, where drought-hit areas increased by 1.4 percent every ten years.

Guo Yingchun, senior engineer with the Hebei meteorological bureau, cited global warming as one cause of the drought, adding that they were trying to ascertain other causes.

The local governments has made artificial rain to relieve the drought and ordered the digging of wells and transfer of water to people in the drought-plagued areas.

(Xinhua News Agency September 13, 2007)

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