The Yangtze River, China's longest river that normally carries
abundant water resources, is suffering from a severe water shortage
during this winter's longer dry season.
The Hankou hydrological station in Hubei Province recorded the
Yangtze River's water level at 13.98 meters on January 8th. This
was the record low level since recording began 142 years ago, the
Changjiang Times reports.
Large amount of sediment
can be sighted in the Hubei section of the Yangtze
Media reports have said the water shortage, mainly caused by the
severe drought from autumn on the upper reaches, will continue to
worsen in February.
More sandbars and islets can be seen on the riverbed since the
first small amount of sediment was first sighted in 2005 in the
Hubei section of the Yangtze River and the shortage of water in the
main waterway has caused more frequent ship groundings.
In Hubei Province's Jianli County a farmer named Li Changmin has
recently seen ships congested on the river along the section where
he farms. Hundreds of ships are jammed up stretching several
The farmer is cultivating garlic along the bank of the Yangtze
in an area that had always been submerged in the past. He was not
worried that the water would flood his garden.
He says the water is over 1000 meters away from his garden
during this winter's dry season, and it will take months for the
receding water to reach his garden again.
The river water shortage has left 200,000 residents in Jianli
County with a drinking water shortage. The Jianli County Water
Supply Company had to send its pumping ships far from the river
bank to pump water.
Company workers say that before 1996 the Yangtze River dry
season lasted only three months but now the dry season starts
earlier and lasts longer. The lowest water level comes in February
Experts have warned that because of the low water level,
pollutants will be more concentrated during the dry season, which
will make pollution problems more serious. The water shortage also
threatens wildlife living in and around the river.
Liu Denghong, the director of the Chinese sturgeon research
center in Yichang, Hubei Province, says that the low water level
has reduced the living space for aquatic animals, and more ships
and pollutants in the river will definitely threaten the animals'
Meanwhile, the low water level and the bare riverbed will cause
a proliferation of field mice. A reoccurrence of Dongting Lake's
2007 mice disaster could happen again this year.
(CRI January 16, 2008)