There’s a serious drought affecting Chongqing and neighboring Sichuan, which recent reports have stated is the worst such drought to hit the region in 50 years. Water levels on the Yangtze are at lows unseen for 100 years, water is being rationed in Chongqing, and millions of people are already without safe drinking water. Losses are already in the billions of yuan, and it looks like the autumn harvests are going to be shite, thus leading to huge agricultural losses.
During this time, reports began circulating on the internet that The Three Gorges Dam was responsible for the drought, which the government has denied, citing reasons that have to do with climate changes, global warming, and strange air currents over the Qinghai-Tibet plateau.
Meteorological changes might be the reason, but it is possible the drought is in part related to human activity — now we don’t know jack about water engineering or whatever kind of biology is germane to the issue at hand, but we did find this report, which suggests that water transfer between regions might have something to do with water levels in the Yangtze:
Under the south-north water transfer project, which is designed to benefit Beijing and other cities on the drought-stricken north China plain, water is to be drawn from the Yangtze and its tributaries and sent to the north along three routes. The eastern and western channels will each convey 15 billion cubic metres of water, while the middle route will draw 14.5 billion cubic metres of water from the Danjiangkou reservoir on the Han River.
Less water means that pollutants become more concentrated. It seems that people as far up the river as Nanjing in Jiangsu province have been affected, with one village of people unfortunate enough to have been forced by lack of water to dip into a local river, which is full of parasites, including the infamous blood flukes（血吸虫）that Mao had claimed to have eradicated (they are prevalent in his home province of Hunan, in the Yueyang/Changsha area, especially). Like we said, we don’t know much about this field, but in any case, it’s not likely that if silting or water transfer or anything other than metereological flux is the culprit, that we are going to actually find out about it — the Three Gorges Dam is way too politicized for that to happen.
Photo from China Daily.