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BEIJING, Aug 13 (Reuters) - About 17 million people in southwest China don't have access to clean drinking water due to sustained drought, state media reported on Sunday. Crops on large tracts of farmland in Sichuan province and the nearby Chongqing municipality have withered due to the month-long drought, causing economic losses of 9.23 billion yuan ($1.15 billion), the Beijing News and the Xinhua news agency said...
Meanwhile, heat waves in Southwest China have caused blackouts, water shortages and an increasing number of people suffering sunstrokes, local media reported.
The highest temperatures there ranged between 35C and 40C (95F and 104F--my inserted conversion here); and water levels in many sections of the Yangtze River are historically low.
The Yangtze River Hydrological Bureau said that this month, the volume of water entering the Three Gorges Reservoir in the middle reaches of the river was only 8,400 cubic metres per second, about the same as the February dry season.
Weather forecasts offer little hope of rainfall in the next few days in the upper and middle reaches of the river, including Sichua Province and Chongqing Municipality, where farmers are facing blistering drought.
Chongqing is suffering the worst drought in the past 50 years and water supplies for nearly 7.5 million people have been threatened, local authorities said yesterday.