Yangtze at record low

Published: Friday 15 February 2008

The water level in China's longest river, the Yangtze, is at a record low. Water levels in some areas have fallen to the lowest in 142 years, officials said.

On January 8, the Yangtze water level at Hankou hydrological station in Hubei province plunged to 13.98 metres -- the lowest since 1866. Officials say the water shortage, which will worsen in February, is mainly caused by severe drought in the upper reaches. At the same time they admit that too much of water has been held up by the Three Gorges Dam.

Yangtze, which crisscrosses 30 cities in China, supplies water to hundreds of millions of people and thousands of factories that account for 40 per cent of the country's industrial output. The situation is disturbing at a time when authorities are working on a massive water diversion scheme to take water from the Yangtze to the Yellow river.

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