Tue, May 31, 2011
China > Mainland > Severe drought hits China

Drought threatens drinking-water safety in central China

2011-05-31 14:39:18 GMT2011-05-31 22:39:18(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

As central China continues to suffer through a prolonged drought, the environmental protection department of Hubei Province has been asked to monitor the area to ensure the safety of the province's drinking water supply.

On Tuesday, Hubei's Environmental Protection Department released a statement warning all areas affected by the drought to be vigilant and safeguard the quality of their drinking water supplies.

It asked local environmental departments to set up special monitoring teams to increase the frequency of water-quality inspections and implement effective measures in case of any hazards or excessive pollution.

As of Sunday, the dry weather had left more than 3 million people short of drinking water, said a statement from the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters (SFDH). h Hubei has been overwhelmed by the worst drought to hit the region in 50 years, suffering significant crop losses and damage to the environment.

In Hubei's neighboring province of Jiangxi, over 15 percent of the province's farmlands have been negatively impacted by the drought, said the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters.

Jiangxi has experienced record lows in precipitation since the beginning of this year, with just 431 millimeters of rainfall. This is the lowest level of precipitation recorded in the province since 1959.

The drought has impacted 426 million mu (about 284,000 hectares) of farmland in Jiangxi Province, with 350,000 people and 60,000 livestock left without a steady supply of drinking water.

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