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Largest Desert Spring Disappearing

The water level of Yueya Spring, which is dubbed "the No.1 spring in desert areas in China", is decreasing sharply in recent years. Its water area has shrunk greatly from 24 mu, or 16,000 square meters, to the present 7.8 mu, about 5,200 square meters.

Yueya Spring is located five kilometers away from the southwest of Dunhuang city in Gansu. The shape of the spring looks like a crescent moon, hence its present name, Yueya (crescent moon) Spring. According to historical accounts, the spring was located in a mountainous area. Although the spring was surrounded by sand dunes, the water in the spring had never dried up for over two thousand years, which was really a miracle in desert land.

In recent years, due to its natural geological location and improper human production activities, the water level of the spring has dropped dramatically. The water area of the spring also has shrunk greatly. In the 1950s, the spring's water area reached 20 mu (about 13, 333 square meters), and measured 7 meters deep; in the 1960s, the spring measured 6 meters deep and the water was very clear; in the 1970s, the spring contained enough water to irrigate farmland. However, its water level began to decrease. In the 1980s, the water level of the spring decreased by 6 meters compared with 1960.

In history, Yueya Spring was said to be the "eyes" of Dunhuang. If the spring disappears, local natural environment and tourist resources will be adversely affected, some experts say.

( July 13, 2007)

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