More than 20 crater-like pits appeared in the town of Fukou in Hunan Province as a result of mining activities in the area. About 4,000 villagers now have a drinking problem.
Initial investigation showed reckless coal mining has damaged the underground water system and caused cave-ins in farm fields and riverbanks in recent months, the China News Service reported today.
Land subsidence has blocked some creeks and cut off water supply to about 4,000 villagers and 33 hectares of farmland. It also cracked the walls of about 20 houses, forcing two families to evacuate.
Photos showed water from blocked creeks was flowing into a big hole in the ground.
The local government has started a probe and is working on a compensation plan for the affected families, the report said.
Mining-triggered cave-ins also struck other parts of China in recent years. Last February nearly 700 cave-ins were reported in Yuejiaqiao Town, also in Hunan, affecting some 1,200 people.