According to Reuters, the residential areas, offices, and shopping centers of Dazhou, Sichuan, underwent rotating brownouts on August 17. Each brownout lasted several hours due to an electrical power shortage.
China’s southwestern province of Sichuan, a city of 5.4 million people, relies on hydropower to generate 80% of its power. This year, the average rainfall in Sichuan is 51% lower than the same period of the previous year. The water level of hydropower stations has dropped to the lowest level in history, causing the province’s power generation to fall by more than 50%. On Sunday, August 14, authorities ordered lithium, fertilizers, and other metals producers to shut plants or curb output amid the worst heatwave in 60 years.
Meanwhile, as Reuters reported on August 15, regions that rely on the Yangtze, China’s longest river, must use pumps and cloud-seeding rockets due to a prolonged drought that depletes water levels and threatens crops. The heatwave is likely to last for another two weeks.
The Yangtze’s middle and lower reaches have faced temperatures above 40 ºC (104 ºF) over the past month. The Poyang lake in central China’s Jiangxi province registered a 50% decline in rainfall in July. The water level of the mainstream of the Yangtze River, Dongting Lake, and Poyang Lake is 6 meters lower than in the same period last year.
According to scientists from China’s National Climate Center, the heatwave is likely to extend for another two weeks, making it the most prolonged period of high temperatures since records began in 1961.