Dongting Lake officially declared drought-free

2023-06-08 09:18:13China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Hunan province's Dongting Lake, the country's second-largest freshwater lake, officially ended its drought after 305 days, though its water level remains much lower than normal, according to the provincial water resources authority.

At around 1 am on Tuesday, the water level at the lake's benchmark Chenglingji hydrological station reached 24.51 meters, one centimeter higher than the mark representing a state of drought, the authority said in a release late on Tuesday.

However, it is still 2.8 meters lower than average for the period.

Dongting was able to cast off the prolonged drought mainly because of increased water flow from the Three Gorges Dam, the authority said.

The lake saw its water level recede to below the drought mark last year after Hunan was hit by its severest drought since 1961. Starting on July 8, the province recorded up to 147 consecutive days without "effective precipitation". At its lowest point, Dongting shrank to only one-seventh of its usual size.

Despite the province experiencing nine rounds of heavy rainfall since it entered the flood season over two months ago, the drought situation in the lake had previously remained unrelieved, Hunan's water resources authority said.

It depicted a still gloomy picture for the situation in Dongting.

The precipitation in Hunan this year may still be less than normal. If the water flow from the Three Gorges is reduced, Dongting may see its water level decline again, it said.

Dongting is not the only major lake that has recently suffered a prolonged drought. Poyang, downstream of Dongting and the country's largest freshwater lake, saw its water level stay below the 12-meter drought mark from Aug 6 to April 23.


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