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Date: Wed, 22 Jul 98 17:36:07 CDT
From: Mark Graffis <ab758@virgin.usvi.net>
Article: 39610
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.9554.19980724001520@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

Lower reaches of Yellow River could be dry in 2020

AFP, 22 July 1998

BEIJING (July 22, 1998 07:16 a.m. EDT http://www.nandotimes.com) - China's second longest watercourse the Yellow River could dry up along its lower reaches by 2020, according to experts quoted Tuesday by the official Xinhua news agency.

The river, which began to experience dry spells in 1972, was dry last year for a record 226 days due to the worst drought for 20 years, the agency said. In the previous year the dry spell lasted 136 days.

The experts concluded that the lower reaches could be dry year-round by 2020. The flow has already been halted 18 times in the last 25 years by drought, the agency said.

At the start of the year Xinhua said frequent droughts and excessive use of water by industries and farming had greatly reduced the river's volume. It said the economic loss just in Shandong, the last province through which the river passes, amounted to $1.6 billion in 1997.

Last December a senior parliamentary official estimated that soil erosion and appalling pollution of rivers threatened a serious shortage of water.

While the Yellow River is threatened with lack of water, the south of the country and especially the Yangtze basin has suffered three months of serious floods which have killed at least 1,000 people.