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China’s Largest Freshwater Lake Reduced by 1/3 in 3 Days: Report

Posted by feww on October 22, 2014

MAIN SCENARIOS 900, 800, 699, 444, 200, 111, 101, 100, 090, 03, 02, 01

Poyang lake water level falling by 30 cm per day

“China’s largest freshwater lake, Poyang, has shrunk by one third in the past three days due to reduced water supply from the Yangtze River and little rainfall,” reported the official Xinhua news agency.

The lake’s surface area was reduced from 2,169 km² on Monday to 1,490 km² Wednesday (October 22) , a reduction of 679 km², reported the Jiangxi Provincial Hydrological Bureau.

“The water level at Xingzi hydrological station was 11.99 meters at 4 p.m. Wednesday, 2.13 meters lower than the levels in normal years. The water level is falling by 30 cm per day.”

Limited water flow from the upper Yangtze River, due to the water being diverted to hydroelectric dams, and lack of rainfall in the province were two major causes for the loss, said the bureau.

Jiangxi Province has received an average precipitation of less than 5 mm since September 20, said the report.

“The sharp fall of water levels in the lake will affect shipping and fishing as well as the water supply for nearby residents.”

From 3500 km² to just 200 km²

The average area of the lake is about 3,500 in normal years. However, it shrank to about 200 due to drought and the practice of diverting water to the Three Gorges Dam in 2012.

“Every year, when the Three Gorges reservoir stores water – to power the dam’s turbines during the winter – the flow rate in the Yangtze drops. This in turn increases the rate at which the level of Poyang lake falls, and the period of low water comes sooner,” said Ye Xuchun, a researcher at China’s Southwest University.

“The incomes in fishing villages are dropping as fast as the water in the lake. Some residents will have move on to other trades,” said Xu Bin, the author of a thesis on the socio-economic consequences of the lake’s environmental disorders. He said: “The soil of China is dry, so the Yangtze is vital. Poyang is one of the key elements and its current predicament is a warning for the future.”

Habitat for 236 Species of Birds

Poyang Lake is a vital habitat for at least 236 species of birds including various endangered species, such as oriental white stork and white crane, and more than 100 species of wintering migrants, including Siberian cranes, according to a recent survey.


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