China has had the warmest winter in decades. Temperatures are at record highs even in winter. And the news it seems is getting worse.
Reports in the local Chinese media suggest that around 1.5 million people who stay in China’s southwest region might face the possibility of acute drinking water shortage soon due to a drought. Government officials are desperately considering all possible measures, including cloud seeding to make it rain.
In Chongqing especially, water levels have still not recovered from a pounding received by an intense heat wave last summer. Apparently, ferries that ply along the famed Yangtze River have been forced to run aground as water levels have dramatically receded. Around ten ships are reportedly stuck in the river. The city of Chongqing has around 30 million residents and the government is already reportedly reducing water supply in a bid to cope with the problem and wells are being dug to find underground sources of water. An unidentified spokesperson for Shapingba Waterworks, one of the largest drinking water suppliers in Chongqing, told Xinhua, China’s national news agency, that if the water levels in the Yangtze and its upper tributary Jialing River continue to decline ‘we’ll face a real crisis.’
China does face an acute environmental crisis – some of the world’s most polluted cities are in the country – and it is evident that the threat of global warming is looming large. Last summer, temperatures rose to a high of 40 degrees Celsius, and this year has been remarkably warm, too. More than 18 million people had problems accessing drinking water last year, Reuters states.