China declares water supply ‘red alert’ for largest lake as drought persists

SHANGHAI: Central China’s Jiangxi province declared a “red alert” for water supplies for the first time after Poyang freshwater lake, the country’s largest, hit an all-time high, said the Jiangxi government on Friday, September 23.

Poyang Lake, normally a vital outlet for the Yangtze, China’s longest river, has been suffering from drought since June, with water levels at a key monitoring point falling from 19.43m to 7.1m during of the last three months.

The Jiangxi Water Monitoring Center said water levels in Poyang would drop further in the coming days, with rainfall still minimal. Rainfall since July is 60% lower than a year earlier, he added.

As many as 267 weather stations across China reported record high temperatures in August, and a long dry spell in the Yangtze River basin drastically reduced hydropower generation and damaged crop growth ahead of the fall harvest.