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Drought makes China reservoirs 'useless'

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Drought makes China reservoirs 'useless'
Chinese wash their clothes near the massive Danjiankou Dam near Xiangfan, Hubei Province, China March 23, 2011. A costly project to enable the dam to control "100-year floods" is near completion, according to government officials. When it was completed in 1973, the dam held back the largest reservoir in Asia. Now the reservoir will be two-thirds larger. UPI/Stephen Shaver | License Photo

BEIJING, May 16 (UPI) -- Reservoirs throughout China's Hubei Province have been rendered virtually useless by drought as only dead water remains in them, local water authorities said.

By Sunday, water in four medium-sized and 1,388 smaller reservoirs had dropped below the allowable discharge level for irrigation and other purposes, Yuan Junguang of the Hubei Provincial Water Resources Department said.

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Known as the "land of a thousand lakes" and a major producer of China's grain and cotton, Hubei has been in the grip of a drought for the last five months, China's state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

The drought has left about 315,000 people and 97,300 livestock in the province short of drinking water and affected about 2 million acres of farmland, a survey conducted by the Hubei provincial agricultural department found.

"Ever since Spring Festival in February, we've had no drinking water in the village," Yu Youqing, a 73-year-old farmer in the village of Huashan, said. "It's now a routine for us to carry water in from about two kilometers (1.2 miles) away."

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