For the fourth consecutive year Kunming is entering spring facing serious water supply issues. Municipal officials have told local media that the amount of water currently available to the city is "basically sufficient".
But with another two to three months before the monsoon-driven rainy season begins, the most recent batch of statistics to be released is far from reassuring.
In addition to the nearly half million people living around Kunming that have been grappling with a water shortage for the last six months, nearly 230,000 head of livestock are also suffering.
At the moment, 29 rivers and streams around Kunming have disappeared and 88 reservoirs have completely dried up, according to official statistics.
In 2009 and 2010 Kunming experienced its worst drought in a century - a crisis from which it has not yet recovered.
Kunming's two main water sources, the Yunlong and Songhua reservoirs, have water levels that local media is describing as "obviously not enough" to meet the needs of Kunming's four main urban districts. The Yunlong reservoir is reportedly down to less than one third of its storage capacity.
In an attempt to meet demand for water, city water supply officials recently reduced the minimum amount of water stored in the Yunlong and Songhua reservoirs from 7,000 cubic meters to 4,000 cubic meters.
The current drought is not only threatening area drinking water supplies and affecting agriculture and industry, it has created optimal conditions for wildfires.
Thursday afternoon a fire on Changchong Mountain in Kunming's north that at its largest was 400 meters across was extinguished by more than 200 firefighters.
There is no way to predict exactly when the rainy season will begin, but it would seem that droughtwise things will get worse before they get better. Weather forecasts for Kunming are projecting sunny skies, rising temperatures and zero chance of precipitation for the foreseeable future.© Copyright 2005-2020 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.