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UPDATED: February 12, 2009
Yellow River Water Helps Fight Drought
Irrigation systems in Henan and Shandong provinces had diverted 651 million cu m of water to 471,000 hectares of farmland by Monday

Drought-stricken areas along the 5,464-km-long Yellow River - China's second-largest watercourse - have brought water to parched croplands by increasing the flow from dams and water-diversion channels in the lower reaches.

Irrigation systems in Henan and Shandong provinces had diverted 651 million cu m of water to 471,000 hectares of farmland by Monday, An Xindai, a spokesman for the Yellow River Conservancy Commission under the Ministry of Water Resources, said yesterday.

Soldiers irrigate a field in Shangqiu City, Henan Province, with water carried to the site by a tanker yesterday. About 533,600 hectares of wheat in Shangqiu have been hit by drought. Soldiers have been drafted in to help farmers cope. [Xinhua]

Half of Henan's and 35 percent of Shandong's irrigation needs have been satisfied through the measures, and the authority will continue closely monitoring and adjusting water flows, An added.

Drought has parched 6.66 million hectares of farmland along the Yellow River in Gansu, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan and Shandong provinces since YRCC issued a drought alert on Jan 6. That includes 1.44 million "severely affected" hectares and 98,700 "less-affected" hectares, An, who is also director of YRCC's water resources scheduling bureau, said.

The Yellow River flows through nine provinces, with a 795,000-sq-km basin area. It waters 12 million hectares of cultivated land.

Water diversion in Henan and Shandong nearly doubled to 651 million cu m compared with the same period last year, reaching a record high since 1999, An said.

(Xinhua News Agency February 11, 2009)

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