China Drought 2012: Three-Year-Long Dry Spell Continues in Southwest

 
on April 05 2012 4:33 PM
  • Drought Ridden Farmland
    A man attempting to till the cracked and dried earth. iqilu.com
  • A Drying Riverbed
    Women in the Chongposhao township of Gejiu City in Yunnan province dig through the bottom of a riverbed. chinanews.com
  • A Dry Riverbed
    A dried riverbed in Chongposhao township of Gejiu City in Yunnan province. www.chinanews.com
  • A Dry Riverbed
    A dried riverbed in Chongposhao township of Gejiu City in Yunnan province. www.chinanews.com
  • Ground Cracked by Drought
    A scene from Luliang County of Qujiang City in Yunnan Province. www.jxnews.com.cn
  • Walking to Water
    Young children carrying empty containers for water. www.cntv.com
  • A Dried-up Resevoir
    The Qingshan Reservoir in Luliang County. www.cntv.com
  • Surrounded by Dirt
    A man stoops at the bottom of a once full reservoir. www.chinanews.com
  • Water Disappearing
    A woman retrieves water from the remaining deposits at the bottom of a rain cistern in Luliang County. www.cntv.com
  • A Woman Carries Water Home
    Families in some regions must turn to transporting and buying water from more than 10 kilometers away. www.cntv.com
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A devastating drought in southwestern China's Yunnan province is entering its third year. 

The drought has already affected more than 6.3 million people; 2.4 million have difficulty finding access to drinking water.

Southwestern China's agricultural industries have also been critically affected and have already lost approximately 2 billion yuan ($317 million). 

Farmers have had to switch to more resistant crops, but this has not alleviated many of the problems created by the drought. Families in some regions must turn to transporting water from more than 10 kilometers (6 miles) away. 

China has long been affected by desertification in the northern and western regions, but the drought in Yunnan marks a new high in China's troubles with the climate and environment.

Water Scarcity

Although China has approximately 20 percent of the world's population, it has access to only 7 percent of the globe's freshwater resources.

Eleven of China's 31 provinces and administrative regions have roughly the same level of access to water resources as the Middle East. Inhabitants there get less than 1,000 cubic meters per year.

Urbanization and economic growth will continue to put new stresses on the availability of water in China. Manufacturing, power generation, infrastructure construction, urban lifestyles, and increased food and goods consumption all lead to increased stresses on limited water supplies, leading to further scarcity.

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