More than 11 million people are suffering from drinking water shortages as a drought lingers in southwest China. According to a China News report, five provinces, including Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, and Sichuan have been hit hard.
The drought has affected 2.1 million hectares of crops, and threatened the water supply of more than 6 million livestock.
Yunnan Province is experiencing the worst drought in six decades, which started last fall. So far, direct economic losses are estimated at more than 10 billion yuan ($1.46 billion), as reported by Xinhua.
No rainfall considerable enough to end the drought was forecast in the next 10 days, according to the local meteorological center. The average temperature in the affected provinces is one to two degrees Celsius higher than last year. These signs hint that the drought will linger into late March.
Authorities have imposed water use quotas for civilians and ordered companies with heavy water consumption to shut down operation.
While reasons for the drought are currently being sought, several experts believe the drought is the result of pollution and a lack of significant regard for the ecological system in China. Wang Weiluo, a water conservation expert, said the drought is a direct result of destruction to ecosystems in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.
"The few major rivers near the upper reach of the Yangtze River Basin, such as Jinsha, Lancang, and Nujiang rivers, have suffered severe ecosystem damage and thus a diminished annual flow this year,” Wang told Radio Free Asia.
Read the original articcle in Chinese.