More than 2,000 lakes in China
Wednesday, October 10, 2001
Reuters, Beijing, China
More than 2,000 lakes that nurture China's once ferocious Yellow River in the western province of Qinghai are disappearing and causing water shortages for the local people, state-run Xinhua said on the weekend.
Dubbed "China's Sorrow" for its disastrous floods over the centuries, the nation's second-longest Yellow River waterway has been dying over the years, harmed by excessive water use and pollution.
Global warming had also taken its toll, putting pressure on the Yellow River's water supply for several consecutive years, Xinhua news agency said.
Over half of the ground rivers and lakes in Qinghai's Madoi county - formerly known as a "county of thousands of lakes" - had already disappeared, making 30 percent of the county's grassland vanish and harming grazing activities, it said.
Drought this summer had deprived local livestock of sufficient food and dried up more than 120 of the county's sources of drinking water, it said.
Although now tame, China has fought a long battle to control the unpredictable Yellow River.
Meticulous reports of the river's torment have been kept since the 7th century B.C. and flooding along its densely-populated lower reaches became so rampant in the 17th and 18th centuries the Qing dynasty emperor created a high-ranking government post to address the problem.
© Reuters News Service 2001