The country is facing a severe drought that threatens even the
wet, humid areas of the south, officials warned on Wednesday.
Zhang Jiatuan, director of the drought prevention department of
the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, said the
drought is the most serious of the decade and is affecting almost
the whole country.
The lack of rain is mainly due to global warming, experts have
said. In recent years, severe drought has also hit Central Asia,
Europe, Africa and Australia.
The State Council last week issued a notice calling for
governments at all levels to strengthen their anti-drought
About 400,000 hectares of cropland have been affected by drought
this year, leading to total grain losses of 37.4 billion kg, the
Xinhua News Agency reported.
"Drought has caused more damage to industry than to
agriculture," Zhang said.
"Since the 1990s, losses from drought have been equivalent to
1.1 percent of China's average annual gross domestic product, or
about 300 billion yuan ($41 billion)."
The country has witnessed consecutive droughts over recent
years, which have posed a serious threat to water security, he
About 30 million people in rural areas and more than 20 million
in urban areas face drinking water shortages every year, despite
the government investing millions of yuan annually to address the
Earlier this year, Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province, the
country's largest freshwater lake, was reported to be shrinking
Its surface area fell to the smallest on record - less than 50
sq km, from a maximum of several thousand square kilometers.
Experts have said the country's anti-drought infrastructure
including reservoirs is in need of upgrading and maintenance.
Yang Yunxian, an official with the Hainan anti-drought office,
said: "The infrastructure in Hainan Province is seriously lagging
behind. Many reservoirs are in need of maintenance.
"Reservoirs can only hold low levels of water during the rainy
season. But when the dry season comes, we will be faced with
(China Daily December 21, 2007)