(Vatican Radio) Authorities in China say millions of people are now suffering from
a water shortage that has also destroyed crops. The alert comes amid other indications
that China may face chronic water problems in years ahead.
A drought has left
nearly 13 million people without easy access to drinking water, China's Ministry of
Civil Affairs said on Thursday. It said the problem is acute in seven southern regions.
summer has been unusually hot in southern China and a lack of rain means almost a
million hectares of farmland will produce no harvest this year, officials said.
lack of water has been a growing problem for years. China's water resources are just
a quarter of the global average when measured by head of population. And yet its industry
uses four to ten times more water per unit of GDP -- one factor behind the country's
And what water there is, is increasingly unusable.
This spring, the Geological Survey of China said ninety percent of groundwater is
Authorities are responding. On Thursday, the Ministry of Water Resources
said it would try to tackle water and soil loss in areas amounting to 30,000 square
Over the next five years, it will try to rebuild farmland and plant
trees to try to halt the spread of desert.