Provinces in northeast China are facing water shortages as a severe drought persists.
In Qitaihe City, Heilongjiang Province, hundreds of thousands of residents have faced curbs on water use as the water level at the city's only reservoir continued to recede.
The city imposed quotas for water consumption in October. All car wash services in the city proper were closed and public bathhouses, which were usually open around the clock, were only allowed to open from 2 PM to 9 PM.
"The water crisis is mainly due to a rare drought," said Wang Huixiang, deputy director of the city's water bureau.
The water shortage has caused huge inconvenience to local residents.
"We have to stand in a long queue to take a shower in the public bathhouse within its service hours because there is no water in my house in the evening," said Si Lirong, a resident at the Huayuan Community in the Taoshan District.
In Jilin Province, one third of the arable land, or 1.89 million hectares, has been affected by the drought.
The average precipitation in the province has been 39.5 millimeters since October, down 36 percent year-on-year and the third lowest amount recorded, said Wang Shouchen, vice governor of Jilin.
In Liaoning Province, the average precipitation has been only 1mm, a 90 percent year-on-year decrease.
(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2008)