China News Service has reported that the continuous hot dry weather has led to a lingering drought in the county, which has left about 7,000 people and 420,000 livestock lacking adequate drinking water. Some 743,000 hectares of grassland have been damaged, and 5,141 cattle have died from the drought, but the figures could be more.
This has been the worst dry spell the country has faced in 60 years. The drought began in the fall of 2010, but continuous lack of rain and snow has endangered the lives of millions in the Gansu Province where water is more precious than gold.
With temperatures continuing to rise, the drought could worsen, as meteorological authorities predict little rainfall in the province until late April. The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters has stated that the precipitation in Southwest China and in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River was smaller than in the northern areas this winter.
From the 1600s to the 1940s, the region was hit by a major drought every 33 years. But that interval fell to every two years in the 1980s. Since 2000, drought has plagued Gansu annually. But this time the drought was more severe than any the region has ever faced. The main cause is widespread deforestation, according to experts.
That, combined with climate change caused by global warming is ravaging the region. Global warming is having an undeniable effect on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, which is the source of both the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers.
An estimated 80% of Tibet’s 46,377 glaciers are now melting more quickly than originally thought, at an average rate of 7% per year. In May 2011, the water level of the Yangtze reached its lowest point. Up to 28,000 of the Countries Rivers have disappeared since the 1990s according to the Chinas 1st national water census, worsening the water crisis. Global warming also.
Though it has been reported that the drought is now under control, in reality, the drought is still affecting many people in the province of Gansu. Despite the flooding in the other parts of China, Gansu is still facing water shortage. It is time to correct our ways or historically important provinces might one day disappear from the face of the Earth.