Rationing proposed for river
Scientists and ecologists want a water-rationing system imposed on users in the Yellow River valley to prevent the river running dry.
The river's lower reaches usually run dry for an average of 36 days annually, but the situation has worsened in recent years.
The lower reaches stopped flowing for 136 days last year, choking off water supplies to industry and three million hectares of farmland, Xinhua (the New China News Agency) reported.
Ecologists warned the trend, if not prevented, would have serious consequences for underground water, farmland and wetlands.
Scientists from government agencies - including the State Environmental Protection Bureau, the Ministry of Water Resources and the Chinese Academy of Sciences - advocated a quota system to ration water for cities, counties and towns along the river.
No more water diversion projects should be approved, and current and developing schemes should be operated under quotas, they said.