The lake with no water

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 May, 2011, 12:00am


Tens of thousands of people in the central province of Jiangxi have been caught unprepared by the nation's worst drought in 50 years.

Villagers living around Poyang Lake say they have never experienced such a severe water shortage, which has ruined their crops.

Water levels in China's largest freshwater lake dropped to a record low last week, with nearly 90 per cent of it reduced to a plain of cracked, parched mud due to the high temperatures and lack of rainfall.

Changhu villagers said it had rained only once since February - last week.

Zhang Renmin, 76, lives on the edge of the Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve, famous for the hundreds of thousands of migratory birds it attracts. The part of the lake in front of the village that draws tourists for bird-watching during the winter has almost dried up.

The water has receded at least 3 kilometres from the shore.