Shenzhen is suffering its worst drought in a decade, according to the local observatory, while some villages in outlying counties have been without water for nearly three weeks. 'We have been without water for more than 20 days,' said a Banggang village committee member. 'We have to buy all the water from the market and other villages.' Banggang, in Baoan district in the north of Shenzhen, has been the worst-hit by the drought. In the past nine months Shenzhen's rainfall has been only a fifth of its normal amount and the water in the reservoirs has fallen by half, an official at Shenzhen Observatory said. 'The last time it was this bad was 1991,' he said. The shortage will not be felt in Hong Kong, which is supplied by the Dongjiang. Beijing has promised to guarantee both the quality and quantity of this water source to the SAR. Officials said Shenzhen city centre had not been affected as it drew water from a nearby reservoir. But the city's Baoan and Longgang districts have been hit by the drought as they are too far away to have water supplied by the reservoir. Huashen Plastic Factory, one of a number of Hong Kong-owned companies affected by dwindling water supplies, said production had been partially halted this month. The factory had to buy water to maintain production, with help from the county government. Production would have to stop if the shortage continued, the plant manager said. Zou Lan, a senior researcher at Shenzhen Comprehensive Development Research Institute, said because Shenzhen was situated on a river estuary, it had only a quarter of the country's average water supply and one fifth of Guangdong's average. When Shenzhen was transformed into a special economic zone in the early 1980s, water supply was planned for a population of one million. Now it has more than seven million people.