Poyang Lake: China's Largest Freshwater Lake at 60-Year Low
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The water level at China’s largest freshwater lake has dropped to a 60-year low, state-run media reported last week. The decline is damaging local ecology, and affecting the water supply to more than 120-thousand people.
Currently, the size of Poyang Lake in eastern Jiangxi province is less than half its average, at just 73 square miles. The water level is at 26 feet—the lowest in six decades. State-run Xinhua News Agency says the decline is a result of falling water levels in rivers feeding into the lake, due to prolonged drought.
Hydrogeologist professor Fan Xiao says the Three Gorges Dam has worsened seasonal drought in the area. The massive dam along China’s longest Yangtze River is one of the Chinese regime’s most prized infrastructures.
[Professor Fan Xiao, Hydrogeologist]:
“Right now the water flow in the Yangtze River is less. The Three Gorges Dam cuts off more than half the flow, and this has resulted in a severe drop in water levels in the Poyang Lake, as well as the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. This is why seasonal drought has happened along the Yangtze River ever since the Three Gorges Dam began to store water.”
Local experts say construction projects along Poyang Lake have also contributed to its decline. Parts of the lake have been filled to create room for some projects, although local authorities say that practice is illegal.
The falling water level has hurt local fishermen, with parts of the lake now too dry to carry fishing boats. The dry spell has also diminished the number of fish, reducing the food available for the half-million migratory birds that travel to Poyang Lake every year.