Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A shrinking major lake in China is a victim of drought

China Daily: Dongting Lake, the nation's second largest freshwater lake, has decreased by more than 90 percent compared with its average capacity during the flood season, a local official said. Presently the lake's total volume is about 770 million cu m, less than 10 percent of the average volume during the flood season, said Jiang Yimin, director of Hunan provincial environmental protection bureau, to the Economic Information Daily Monday.

The lake is located in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River. Successive years of drought in the upstream areas have led to the lake's low volume, it reported. Water levels at the Songzi, Hudu and Ouchi rivers, three tributaries of the Yangtze River, have dropped since 1974.

The lake's water area, which spans Central China's Hubei and Hunan provinces, measured about 538 sq km in mid-October, only 40 percent of its capacity in September, Xinhua reported. The operation of the Three Gorges reservoir has exacerbated the drought, leading to a decrease in water flow into the lake, the newspaper quoted anonymous experts as saying….

Sunset on Dongting Lake, shot by Stephen Webel of, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License

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