Archive for the ‘drought’ Category

China to strengthen water control in light of shortage

February 14, 2009

China will tighten water resources management and take measures to reduce waste to cope with worsening water shortage, Water Resources Minister Chen Lei said here Saturday.

Water shortage impelled us take into consideration of overall economic and social development and economical use of water resources to ensure sustainable economic and social development, Chen said at a national conference in Guilin, in southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

GUILIN, (Guangxi), Feb. 14 (Xinhua)

China is planning to reduce water consumption per unit of GDP to 125 cubic meters by 2020, down 60 percent from now, Chen said. 

Water consumption averaged 229 cubic meters per 10,000 yuan worth of products, according to statistics provided by the Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) at the end of 2008. That figure was down 10 percent compared with the previous year.

Statistics released Saturday showed the country lacked 40 billion cubic meters of water every year, with almost two thirds of cities suffering various levels of water shortages.

More than 200 million rural people face drinking water shortages.

At the same time, farmland stricken by drought reached 230 million mu (15.3 million hectares) every year, nearly 13 percent of the total farming area.

The most severe drought in half a century, which is hitting China this spring, affected 111 million mu of crops so far, with 4.68 million people and 2.49 million livestock threatened by water shortages, according to official statistics from the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

“We must take strict measures to preserve water resources in the face of the severe lack of water worsened by factors such as overuse, pollution and drought ,” Chen said.

The ministry also expected to increase 79.5 billion cubic meters of water resources by 2020 and secure water supplies for both urban and rural people.

Chen proposed reinforcement of laws and regulations on water allocation, consumption and preservation as a fundamental way to achieve this goal.

China pushes ‘top priority’ on drought relief

February 8, 2009

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has urged officials in drought-hit areas to place “top priority” on relief work as agricultural stability concerns China’s bid to revive its economy.

From China Daily

The fight against drought has to do not only with the safety of grain supply but also with the country’s efforts to stimulate domestic demand, Wen said during a visit to central China’s drought-hit Henan Province on Saturday and Sunday.
He said “It’s of vital significance to the overall economy to boost steady growth of grain production and farmers’ income” as China is in a key stage to cope with the global financial crisis.

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China fights drought with chemical cloud-seeding

February 8, 2009

Parts of China‘s parched north got light rain after authorities fired shells loaded with cloud-seeding chemicals into the sky, but there was no end in sight for its worst drought in five decades, the government said Sunday.

Beijing has declared an emergency across China’s north, where 4.4 million people lack adequate drinking water and winter wheat crops are withering.

“The drought situation will not be eased in the near future,” said a national weather bureau statement.

Some areas got a sprinkling of rain and sleet Saturday after clouds were hit with 2,392 rockets and 409 cannon shells loaded with chemicals, the weather bureau said. It said clouds were thin and moving out of the region, making conditions poor for more rainmaking.

By JOE McDONALD, Associated Press Writer

Rainfall in northern and central China is 50 percent to 80 percent below normal, according to the Flood Control and Drought Relief Office. The official Xinhua News Agency said the drought that started in November threatens up to half the wheat crop in eight provinces — Hebei, Shanxi, Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan, Shandong, Shaanxi and Gansu.

On Saturday, one county in Shaanxi got 0.9 inches (23 millimeters) of precipitation, the weather bureau said. Other areas received less than 0.2 inches (5 millimeters).

The state television midday news Sunday showed farmers with parched wheat seedlings that were barely ankle-high.

Beijing has promised 86.7 billion yuan ($12.6 billion) in aid to struggling farmers. That will add to the strain on government finances as it carries out a multibillion-dollar stimulus package to boost slowing economic growth.

The Agriculture Ministry said the drought is to blame for an outbreak of a fungal disease called stripe rust that attacks wheat. It said the disease can cut output by up to 40 percent.

Drinking water is being trucked to villagers and the government is launching a massive irrigation effort with water from rivers and wells.

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Human Toll Of China’s Water Crisis

February 7, 2009

China now suffers through what many climateologist call a “Fifty Year Drought.” 

Often we get bogged down in descriptions of crop loss, wells, lakes, the cost of whet.

But there is a very human side to the drought in China and just now China is staring to energize to address this catastrophe.

China will spend $12 billion to help wheat-growing communities across the country’s northern region survive their worst drought in five decades, state media reported Saturday.

Some 4.3 million people now face a water distress and 2.1 million head of livestock are short of water.  Crops are dead or dying and a real economic disaster is at hand for as many as 30 million Chinese people.

China already has 2-26 million unemployed migrant workers due to the global economic downturn.  Many of those went home to the farming commuities now in the middle of the water crisis.

China’s  Finance Ministry has allocated 86.7 billion yuan ($12.69 billion) from its reserve for local governments to distribute in drought-stricken regions as soon as possible, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The drought that started in November threatens almost half of the wheat crop in the eight provinces — Hebei, Shanxi, Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan, Shandong, Shaanxi and Gansu, Xinhua said.


China’s Water Crisis

China’s Water Crisis

February 6, 2009

China has a growing crisis of getting clean water where it is needed most, compounded by drought and a huge groundwater and coastal water pollution tragedy.

China is currently in its worst drought in more than half a century and the government has declared a “Red Alert.”

The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters made the “Red Alert” determination, Xinhua said, because millions of acres of farmland for grain is all dried out, 4.3 million people face a water distress and 2.1 million head of livestock are short of water.

At the international level, there is already concern about global wheat prices and food availability.

Ma Wenfeng of Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultants said, “The government has sufficient wheat reserves to stabilise the wheat market.  China is unlikely to boost wheat imports much and therefore the direct impact on the international prices will be minimal.”

China has had a looming water crisis for more than a decade.  Just to pull off the Olympics in Beijing this last summer, China had to build a complex series of water ways and aquaducts to feed the thirsty city.  These projects contributed to the loss of farmland around Beijing which turned into desert near Beijing.  The dry areas that were formerly farmlands made for an increase in blowing dust and sand in Beijing.

For more than a decade China has also been reporting increased chemical pollution of its ground water.  As much as 80% of China’s ground water and wells now have high amounts of chemicals from fertilizers,  insecticides and industrial plant run-off.  

China’s poor sewage management has poisoned vast areas of coastal waters.  The “green slime” in the Yellow Sea just prior to the Summer Olympics almost ended sail racing events.  The slime comes when pollution causes th algae to “bloom.”

China’s drought is severe — threatening farms, crops and livlihoods.

But China’s bigger picture of poor water management, control, conservation and sewage management may be creating a long-term nightmare.

China already has a limit of 1 child per family as the population grows past 1.3 billion. 

GETTY IMAGES The Danjiangkou Dam is seen here under construction in July 2006 in central Hubei province, China. Its water is the source of plans to solve Beijing's thirst for more water.

Above: The Danjiangkou Dam is seen here under construction in July 2006 in central Hubei province, China.  Photo: Getty Images


China Drought “Red Alert”

More than 80 pct of China’s coastal waters polluted

Thirsty Beijing awash in water woes

China: Human Activity May Have Increased Earthquake Severity


China Drought “Red Alert”

February 5, 2009

China has declared an emergency in eight northern and central drought-hit regions, where nearly four million people are suffering water shortages.

Nearly half of China’s winter crop – some 10m hectares (24m acres) of wheat and rape seed – are also under threat.

President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao ordered all-out efforts to fight the drought, allocating 400m yuan ($58m, £40m) in relief assistance.


China’s drought relief office called it an event “rarely seen in history”.

China faces droughts and floods annually but has seen a recent increase in extreme weather conditions.

The Chinese authorities say the current drought is expected to continue as no rain has been forecast in the affected areas for at least 10 days.

‘Red alert’

The Chinese leaders’ decision was announced at a State Council meeting, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Government efforts should be directed at stabilising grain production, increasing farmers’ income and ensuring agricultural production, the Council said.

The agriculture ministry says it is on red alert.

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Thirsty Beijing awash in water woes

December 22, 2008

This capital’s growing thirst for clean water is clashing with provincial demands and concerns that plans to tap China‘s rivers will hurt an already troubled environment.

As a result, China has delayed by four years a project to transfer water more than 600 miles from a tributary of the Yangtze River to Beijing and Tianjin, pushing the completion date to 2014.

First proposed by Mao Zedong in the 1950s, the south-to-north water diversion is designed to maintain explosive industrialization in – and migration to – the country´s northern cities.

Critics of the $62 billion project have long argued that it is riddled with environmental flaws. Some of the strongest calls for a delay come from officials in central Hubei province, home to the Danjiangkou Dam, where the water would originate.

By Chris Obrein
The Washington Times

GETTY IMAGES The Danjiangkou Dam is seen here under construction in July 2006 in central Hubei province, China. Its water is the source of plans to solve Beijing's thirst for more water.

Above: The Danjiangkou Dam is seen here under construction in July 2006 in central Hubei province, China.  Photo: Getty Images

Wang Fenyu, a project official, told the Changjiang (Yangtze) Times recently that completion of what is known as the “central route” had been pushed back from 2010 until 2014 “to prevent ecological and environment risks.”

To ensure Beijing´s thirst is not quenched with dirty water, “Hubei must build even more water-treatment plants and ecological restoration facilities,” Mr. Wang said. The project originally was slated to be finished by last summer’s Olympics.

The central route, one of three planned large water projects, is designed to divert 44.8 billion cubic meters of water each year from the Han River, a major tributary of the Yangtze, to supply Beijing and Tianjin.

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Drought forces Australian state to purchase water

December 6, 2008

Australia’s driest state has been forced to purchase water for the first time to ensure adequate supplies in the midst of a drought, a government official said Friday.

Karlene Maywald, state water security minister, said South Australia has purchased 61 billion gallons (231 gigaliters) of water so that Adelaide, the state capital, will have enough water for 2009 even if the drought continues.

By TANALEE SMITH, Associated Press Writer

Map of Australia shows its annual precipitation by region; 2 ...

“We’re just being prudent, getting into the market and buying it (water) to make sure we’ve got it,” Maywald told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

The purchase highlights the dire situation in South Australia, which some experts had predicted would run out of water by the end of the year. The state has suffered through drought for the past five years, and water in Adelaide’s storage containers and reservoirs dropped 8 percent in the last year.

South Australia receives the least rainfall of any Australian state. Adelaide, on the coast, averages 20.8 inches (528 millimeters) a year but much of the state gets less than 9.8 inches (250 millimeters).

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