China’s Jiangxi province has suffered a nearly 100-day drought and Poyang Lake, the largest freshwater lake in China, is still in an extremely dry period.
Since July, Jiangxi province has continued to be dry and the water levels of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs in the region have continued to drop. According to NetEase, Poyang Lake entered an extremely dry period (under 8 meters (26ft)) on August 19. On September 23, it fell below the lowest water level (7.1 meters (23ft)) since record keeping began in 1951. On October 4, its water level dropped to 6.68 meters (21ft).
Huashang newspaper reported that on October 9, after some rain, the water level in the lake rose to 7.22 meters (24ft), but it is still in an extremely dry period. Compared to the largest water area, the lake’s water area has decreased by more than 90%, greatly affecting the livelihood and ecology of the area.
Resident: Water cut off continuously, crops fail
A resident of Wanhu town, Duchang County, Jiangxi province by the name of Zhaoe, told The Epoch Times, “The drought has lasted for over three months, all over, Poyang Lake is dry, there is no tap water, the water source is not enough. If it continues like this, the water will be cut off sooner or later.
Zhao said, “Almost every crop has failed to harvest, including cotton and rice. Other crops have died. Large-scale grain growers and agricultural contractors all suffered heavy losses.”
The Poyang Lake basin was originally a source of domestic water for a large number of people as well as food production in Jiangxi. The area the lake is in entered the dry season early affecting everything from people’s livelihoods and land irrigation. HK01 cited official data showing that, since the drought period this summer, the drought in Jiangxi has affected 5 million locals, over 10 million hectares of crops and directly caused economic losses of up to 6.83 billion yuan (about $953 million).
Poyang Lake’s water level drops rapidly, fish ran aground, people dig wells to get water
According to Zhihu, on October 6, the water level of the lake dropped rapidly overnight. All the fish in the lake were flopping around, making hundreds of people flock to the lake to collect the fish.
The staff of Wanhu town government told the media that each person can pick up more than 50 tons of fish. If hundreds or thousands of people come the number could exceed 50,000 tons.
An employee of the Wanhu town government by the name of Liu, told The Epoch Times that although the authorities applied artificial rain technology, it had no effect, since the entire drought area was too large. “In the past, it was only in the winter that Poyang Lake entered the dry season. But this year, the drought was too severe, it’s a month or two earlier than previous years.”
Some villages have begun to dig wells. In the face of drought, Liu said, “Loss of crops will indeed greatly affect the economy and personal income of the villagers.”
Expert: Unusual climate could become the new normal
Zhang Junfeng, a civilian water conservation expert in mainland China, told The Epoch Times on October 9 that the prolonged drought in China this year is alarming, “It happens a little less frequently at first, say once every ten years or so, but later it may become once every three to five years, or even every year, as global climate changes this will become more frequent.”
Zhang said, the direct cause is due to the decrease in overall rainfall in the upper Yangtze basin and the vapor flux transmitted by the Himalayas and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau has decreased, causing Poyang Lake and Dongting Lake downstream to experience severe drought, “in addition, overpopulation, large water consumption, and the arid climate makes the problem more severe,” he said.