Only drops of hope in drought lands

Updated: 2012-02-21 07:45

By Li Lianxing, Li Yingqing and Guo Anfei (China Daily)

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Big water projects planned to secure district's water supply in the future

QUJING, Yunnan - The 2010 drought in Southwest China's Yunnan province was described as the worst since the 1950s. It continued last year, and this year may prove to be worse yet.

According to provincial civil affairs authorities, more than 2.43 million people and 1.55 million livestock in Yunnan are short of drinking water.

"The small tank I'm using is five kilometers away from my home and the water is really murky, but I have to bring some water back as my family of four need it to survive," said Xu Wansheng, a 45-year-old farmer in Luliang county, near Qujing, whose wheat land is being used in a water project connecting two reservoirs.

"I will cooperate and do whatever they want as long as the water problem in this place can be solved," he said.

The previous day, he tried five small water tanks around his village to no avail and realized the whole area was without water.

More than 651,000 hectares of land have been stricken by the three-year drought leading to losses in agriculture of 2.22 billion yuan ($353 million).

Zhou Yunlong, head of the Yunnan Provincial Water Resources Bureau, said much depends on the rainfall in March and April.

"If there is no rain in the next two months, Yunnan will be confronted with a severe situation," he said. "We must make drinking water for people and livestock the priority, as lives come first."

Xu owns eight hectares of land and grows wheat, horsebeans and rapeseed in winter.

Only drops of hope in drought lands

An elderly resident gets water recently at a water supply station in Weize village, Qujing, in Southwest China's Yunnan province. Severe drought has caused a drinking water shortage that affects more than 430,000 people in Qujing. Yang Zongyou / Xinhua

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