The recent wet weather has prompted a long overdue blog entry about the drought which has struck Yunnan (and 5 other SW provinces) in the past few months. Some parts of Yunnan have been particularly badly hit by the lack of winter rainfall and hot sunny weather. In Baoshan many crops have failed - not just annual wheat, but valuable resources like fruit trees, coffee plants and tea bushes which will take years to replace. As usual, it's the folk in the countryside who have suffered most, as water from reservoirs is diverted to the taps of the major urban areas (where the rich and powerful live). At times like this it's cuddly Wen Jiabao (see above), China's president, who's wheeled out to look concerned and caring, a role he perfected during the Wenchuan earthquake response. This poster board appeared in the College recently, showing images of the drought and urging students to conserve water and electricity. How has the drought affected us here in Simao? Well, not much - certainly no water rationing or water price rises. But we did have to go without electricity for a whole two days (between 7am and 10pm) a couple of weeks ago. Yunnan's normally productive hydroelectric power stations are running at hugely reduced capacity (or have closed down) as the river levels have dropped to alarmingly low levels. We've even stopped exporting electricity to Guangdong province in the south. It leaves us wondering though if the great South-North Water Project is ever going to work. This master plan, on an even greater scale than the 3 Gorges Dam, involves transporting water in huge tunnels from the great rivers of China's south to the water-hungry northern provinces and Beijing. It could be that water resources are going to be a major issue in China's economic future, even more so than coal, oil or iron ore.

30/3/2010 06:56:13 pm

Hu's that? Wen was it taken??


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