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China takes action to alleviate drought as record heatwave continues
The Yangtze, known in modern Chinese as the Chang Jiang, is the longest river in Asia, the third-longest in the world and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country - Text. Wikipedia/Photo. Pixabay

China is taking emergency action to bring more water to the drought-hit basin of the Yangtze river, deploying relief funds, seeding clouds and developing new supply sources as a record-breaking heatwave damages crops and livestock, Reuters reported, according to the Anews.

The Ministry of Water Resources said in a notice on Wednesday (August 17) that drought throughout the Yangtze river basin was "adversely affecting drinking water security of rural people and livestock, and the growth of crops".

It urged regions to make accurate assessments of drought-affected areas and devise plans to maintain water supplies, including temporary water transfers, the development of new sources and the extension of pipe networks.

It said on Tuesday (August 16), to boost downstream supplies, the Three Gorges Dam, China's biggest hydropower project, will also increase water discharges by 500 million cubic metres over the next 10 days.

Some livestock from drought-hit areas had been temporarily relocated to other regions, the Ministry of Finance said earlier this week, adding that it would issue 300 million yuan ($44.30 million) in disaster relief.

Lack of rain causes drought/Pixabay

On Wednesday, central China's Hubei province became the latest to announce an extensive weather modification programme, deploying planes to fire silver iodide rods into the clouds to induce rainfall.

Other regions on the Yangtze have also launched "cloud seeding" programmes, but with cloud cover too thin, operations in some drought-ravaged parts of the Yangtze basin have remained on standby.

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China's heatwave has now lasted 64 days, making it the longest since full records began in 1961, state media said on Wednesday, citing data from the National Climate Center.

The number of weather stations recording temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius (104°F) and above has reached 262, also the highest. Eight have hit 44 degrees Celsius.

Persistently high temperatures would continue in the Sichuan Basin and large parts of central China until Aug. 26, the center forecast.

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A "special case" of high pressure from the West Pacific subtropical high, stretching across much of Asia, is likely to be the cause of the extreme heat, said Cai Wenju, climate researcher with CSIRO, Australia's national scientific research institute.

Source: anews