Recent rains in the Spring City have eased pressure on local water supplies, but a look at statistics released by the provincial government shows that Kunming's drought is far from over.
Six major reservoirs provide Kunming with the majority of its water and three of them are near minimum subsistence levels. However, the six reservoirs contain combined water reserves totaling 48 million cubic meters of water — 2.3 million cubic meters more than the same time last year — Xinhua is reporting.
In relatively good news, the water level in Qingshuihai Reservoir (清水海) has stabilized. Water flowing into the reservoir from streams and runoff is now equivalent to water going out. It was losing five centimeters of depth per day as recently as April 1.
Less encouraging is a government report concerning Yunlong reservoir (云龙水库), which supplies Kunming with 70 percent of its water. Built five years ago, the reservoir inundated several small villages as it was filled to capacity.
The lake's water levels have dropped so significantly during the drought that buildings from the submerged towns are again visible and locals are scavenging metal from them. Water levels have dipped 33 meters to a record low and are dropping an additional 15 centimeters each day.
According to the same report, Songhua Reservoir (松华水库) has water levels 25 meters below normal and is losing two centimeters of depth each day. The lake supplies Kunming with 100,000 cubic meters of water daily and over the past two years has only received half its normal input.
Government officials are suggesting the modest austerity measures may not be enough to cope with population growth in the city and are asking residents to do their part to conserve water. Kunming uses an average of 766,000 cubic meters of water each day.
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