About 560,000 people in China's Shanxi Province have been short of drinking water due to drought since mid-May, the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters said on Thursday.
The northern province recorded a monthly rainfall of 25.3 mm in May. The amount was 14.9 mm, or nearly 40 percent less than average in previous years.
Some 54 percent of the province was affected, among which 19 percent saw serious drought that left 120,000 cattle with water shortage.
According to Wang Zhiwei, an agricultural expert with the provincial climate center, the drought currently affected 790,666.6 hectares of crops and was likely to hinder the growth of cotton and corn.
The drought could worsen as the provincial meteorological bureau warned that the summer would bring 10 percent to 20 percent less rain to the province compared with previous years.
A notice by the flood control and drought relief headquarters urged local governments to improve water storage projects and to ensure a basic supply to people.
(Xinhua News Agency June 6, 2008)