The heatwaves in Southern China have not abated, and the water levels of the three major freshwater lakes continue dropping. Poyang Lake entered the dry season 100 days early. Dongting Lake entered the dry season four months early, while the water level in the Taihu Lake basin dropped to the lowest level in nearly 20 years. In addition, some sections of the Jialing River have bottomed out. At present, the water level of Poyang Lake continues to decrease, exposing large areas of the lake resulting in large “steppes.”

On August 18, the China Central Meteorological Observatory issued a high-temperature red alert for the seventh day in a row and a high-temperature warning for the 29th day in a row. Many places in Southern China are still experiencing high temperatures.

News.cn reported that the intensity of high temperatures in the region since mid-June 13 has reached the highest level since record-keeping began in 1961.

According to the forecast on August 18, the high temperatures in Southern China will continue for a while.

Poyang Lake entered the dry season 100 days early

According to News.cn, since July this year, most areas in the Yangtze River basin continue to have high temperatures and low precipitation—45% less rainfall than the same period last year. The amount of water from the systems of the Yangtze River, Lake Dongting, and Lake Poyang is 20% to 80% lower than in the same period last year. The water is at the lowest level for the same period since the beginning of record keeping.

As of 10:00 a.m. on August 18, the area of the water surface at Lake Poyang was 737 square kilometers or roughly 284 square miles, down 2,203 square kilometers or 851 square miles over the same period last year.

According to The EpochTimes, Poyang Lake is the largest freshwater lake in China, boasting Luoxingdun Island – a famous cultural attraction. Poyang Lake is equivalent to a natural reservoir during high rainfalls. The island is submerged until October, when the water level drops.

According to Sohu, the Jiangxi Department of Water Resources said that the water level at Xingzi station – the representative station of Lake Poyang, had dropped to 11.99 meters (about 39 feet), indicating that Lake Poyang had entered the dry season. This marks Lake Poyang’s earliest dry season since 1951, that is, 100 days earlier than the average of the past years. At present, the water level of Lake Poyang continues to drop, exposing many lakeside rock areas and resulting in the formation of large “steppes.” 

Lake Dongting entered dry season 4 months earlier 

According to the Hunan Irrigation Department on August 17, the regional heatwaves in Hunan province lasted 27 days. The average temperature is 37.7 C (99.86 F), affecting 152,000 square kilometers (58, 687 square miles).

Due to decreasing water flow from upstream of the Yangtze River and the continuous high temperatures and low precipitation, some major tributaries and canals in the northern part of Lake Dongting have dried up. The water level of the lake has dropped for more than 40 consecutive days, resulting in the lowest water level in nearly 30 years. Lake Dongting entered the dry season 4 months early than average in the past years.

Lake Taihu dried up

According to NetEast, Lake Taihu is the third largest freshwater lake in China. Since June, the precipitation in the Taihu Lake basin has been lower than in the same period last year, and the water level has fallen to the lowest point in the past 20 years.

China News Weekly published a video and reported that Xishan Island, the largest island in Lake Taihu, has not experienced such a severe drought in the past 60 years. On August 17, the Tianwangwu reservoir on Xishan Island dried up. The tea plantation captured in the video shows a large, scorched yellow patch. Locals have tried to bring water from the reservoirs below the hill to irrigate but to no avail. The consecutive days of drought have damaged many tea trees on the island.

The section passing through Chongqing of Jialing River has revealed its bottom

According to the forecast of the Chongqing Meteorological Observatory, on August 17, the surface temperature of 65.1% of the downtown area of ​​Chongqing exceeded 50 C (122 F).

Recently, many Chongqing residents reported that the water levels of the Yangtze River and Jialing River had dropped significantly, and some submerged areas are now exposed, which is very rare. Hydrologists explained that, due to the lack of water from upstream, combined with the constant high temperatures and hot weather, the sight of high flood peaks in the Yangtze River and the section passing through Chongqing on the Jialing River disappeared during this year’s flood season; instead, the water level of the Jialing River dropped so low that it was at drought levels even during the flood season.

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