Drought Hits Wheat, Water Supply In China

Around 2.2 million people are facing a shortage of drinking water due to a severe drought in parts of central, southern and eastern China, with some cities starting to run low on supplies, state media said Jan. 17.

Rainfall is down by between 20 and 90 per cent compared with the same period last year in the provinces of Henan, Shanxi, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu, Anhui and Shaanxi, the official Xinhua news agency quoted a government official as saying.

Some of the areas affected are major growing regions for winter wheat, the report added.

“Relentless droughts that started to dry out winter wheat-producing areas such as Shandong and Henan provinces in November continue, affecting some four million hectares of cropland,” it cited Chen Lei, deputy head of drought relief efforts, as saying.

“Water supply is running low in cities around the Yellow, Huaihe and Haihe rivers in northern and central parts of China,” Chen added, calling for more work to be put into relief efforts.

“Governments at all levels should fully recognize the challenge and ramp up drought-relief efforts,” he said.

Drought has affected winter wheat crops in 17 per cent of China’s wheat-growing areas in the country’s northern breadbasket, and dry weather is forecast to extend until spring next year, the government said last month.

Meanwhile, other parts of the country have been hit by freezing rain and heavy snow.

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