Photo by The Guardian
There propably won’t be any stampedes for salt in the near future, as people in Shanghai only have to turn on their water to get some. Momentarily, Shanghai’s fresh water supplies are threatened, as the drought that has troubled China for months now still lingers, causing salt tides. The drought halved the water volume at the Yangtze River mouth, resulting in seawater backing up into the river, mixing with freshwater and making it undrinkable.
But Shanghai Water Authority doesn’t want you to panic. They downplayed the chances of this drought (the most severe drought along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in half a century) turning into a water crisis, and pointed out that salty water poses no harm to human health. Experts predict that the salt tide will ebb in two or three days, but point out that more salt tides could come next month if the drought continues to affect the Yangtze River.
But while the tide in the Shanghai area is unlikely to last more than nine days, other areas in central China, such as Hubei and Jiangxi provinces, are seriously threatened as the drought there shows no signs of ebbing away.
To control the freshwater shortage in Shanghai, local water authorities are sending fresh water to affected communities. Residents can also call a hotline to get help:
Meng Mingqun, an official with the Shanghai Water Authority, said if residents found their tap water too salty or faced a shortage, they could dial a hotline, 962740, for help. The water company will then send sprinklers and fire engines to deliver drinking water to their neighborhoods.
The water crisis underlines Shanghai’s problems with water shortages. The city has been listed by the UN as one of six world cities with the most severe water problems, alongside others such as Cairo, Bombay, Mexico City and other.
By Nele Diels