Drought on China’s Yangtze river has led to historically low levels that have forced authorities to halt shipping on the nation’s longest waterway.It was barely three meters near Wuhan, the Chang Jiang Waterway Bureau said yesterday.
A day earlier, the bureau closed a 228-kilometer stretch above Wuhan to sea-going vessels, fearing ships would become stuck on the bottom.
Further up the river, the massive Three Gorges Dam, the world’s biggest hydroelectric project, has discharged more water to alleviate the drought conditions down river.
It was not immediately clear if the measures would be effective as the drought in areas around the middle reaches has levels at the lowest point in five decades, the China Daily said.
At least two ships have just been stranded, with that part of the river cut to an average width of about 150 meters.
According to Wang Jingquan of the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee, slowing the Yangtze with the controversial Three Gorges Dam has aggravated the drought by diverting flow to the lower reaches.
The 6,300-kilometer Yangtze is indispensable to the economies of many cities along its route.