Wednesday, May 25, 2011

China Facing Worst Drought In Half A Century

China Facing Worst Drought In Half A Century

Central China’s worst drought in more than 50 years is drying reservoirs and stalling rice planting, and threatens crippling power shortages as hydroelectric output slows, state media said yesterday.

Rainfall levels from January to last month in the drainage basin of the Yangtze, China’s longest and most economically important river, have been 40 percent lower than average levels of the past 50 years, the China Daily said.

The national flood and drought control authority has ordered the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric project, to increase its discharge of water by 10 percent to 20 percent for the next two weeks.

The measure is aimed at sending badly needed water to the Yangtze’s middle and lower reaches for drinking and irrigation.

Watermarks in more than 1,300 reservoirs in Hubei Province, where the dam is located, have dropped below allowable discharge levels for irrigation, the paper quoted Hubei Reservoir Management Director Yuan Junguang (袁俊光) as saying.

Rainfall in some areas is as much as 80 percent lower than usual, while the provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi and Zhejiang along with Shanghai municipality are mired in their worst droughts since 1954.

“Without adequate water, we lost the spring planting season for rice,” Hubei farmer Zhou Xingtao was quoted as saying.

The paper said many other farmers in Hubei have lost their existing crops or given up on planting summer rice, fearing the emergency water supplies will be inadequate to sustain their fields, with more hot and dry weather forecast.

The agricultural impact is likely to further alarm officials already trying to tame high prices of key items such as food.

China — and the Yangtze river region in particular — is prone to the alternating threats of crippling drought followed by devastating flooding.

Just last summer, sustained torrential rainfall across the region caused widespread flooding and even some concern over whether the giant Three Gorges Dam would be able to contain the deluge.

More than 3,000 people were reported killed in the flooding and related landslides.

Nearly every year, some part of China suffers its worst drought in decades, and meteorological officials have said previously the extreme weather may be because of climate change.

The State Grid, China’s state-owned power distributor, reportedly said this week that 10 of its provincial-level power grids were suffering severe shortages because of the drought’s impact on hydroelectric generation, including grids in Shanghai and the heavily populated southwestern Chongqing region.

China could face a summer electricity shortage of 30 gigawatts — the most severe power shortfall since 2004, the company said. (end of excerpt.)

Just take stock of all of the places globally affected now by biodistress resulting in erratic rainfall patterns and storms causing destruction of agriculture that is helping to bring prices up. And connect that to the movements of companies like Monsanto salivating for biodistress to worsen so they can make a killing on pushing GM wheat and chemicals and their biopirated seeds to "save the world." I am not one to believe off hand that everything is a conspiracy, but this has all the earmarks of one. This is one big reason why oil and big ag lobbies are against any sort of move to address climate change. They stand to make BIG money from other peoples' misery with terminator seeds and imputs that will simply perpetuate the very climate change we should be addressing in a monoculture world, and in the process they will own the available potable water as well. And this also illustrates the futility of dams in places where such droughts are possible/common. We need solar power! We need to conserve water! We need food sovereignty!

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