Residents of Kunming may believe the city's four-year drought has ended due to recent rains, but that is not the case. This is the message local officials are conveying as they take emergency measures to deal with mounting water shortages. On Tuesday, the largest source of water for Yunnan's capital, Yunlong reservoir (云龙水库), suspended output completely for 15 days.
The closing of Yunlong is significant, as the reservoir supplies roughly 70 percent of all water used in the Spring City. That supply is now largely gone, as water levels in the storage facility are currently 94 percent lower than historical averages. Officials hope the intermittent rains hitting Yunnan over the past three weeks will continue and replenish stocks. In the meantime, Qingshuihai (清水海) and Songhuaba (松华坝) reservoirs are planned to provide the majority of the city's water.
People across the city can expect a drop in water pressure and, in specific areas, water outages. A list of the neighborhoods so far slated for cutoffs is listed at the conclusion of this article. As in past years, people are advised to keep extra drinking water in their homes and fill containers for essential washing activities and flushing toilets. Water use considered non-essential is officially discouraged.
The city plans on utilizing firehouses to deliver drinking water to neighborhoods suffering long-term from low water pressure. Kunming also has several underground cisterns, which may be tapped in extreme conditions to supply affected areas with water for a few hours each day.
It may seem inexplicable to implement water rationing measures as Kunming is receiving downpours on an almost daily basis. Yunlong, however, is located roughly 120 kilometers north of Kunming in Luquan County (禄劝县). Conditions in the reservoir's catchment basin are extremely dry, exacerbated by upriver areas receiving little rain and usage in downstream cities — including Kunming — spiking due to hot weather.
Yunnan's ongoing drought has spanned more than four years and caused hundreds of millions of yuan in damage to agriculture and industry. Harm has not always been directly linked to a lack of water. Parts of the province have repeatedly been hit with massive landslides caused when the ground has become too dry and packed to effectively absorb rain.
Editor's note: Although the list below contains some neighborhoods expected to experience low water pressure or outages over the next two weeks, it is not comprehensive. A complete list has not been issued publicly. To obtain further information regarding a specific section of the city, and possible outage times, the public can call the Water Utility Customer Service Hotline at 96106.
Neighborhoods along Beijing Lu up to Bei Pianqu (北京路延长线北片区)
Neighborhoods north of Linyu Lu (霖雨路)
Jinjiang Xiaoqu (金江小区)
Lishui Yayuan (丽水雅苑)
Ciba Pianqu (茨坝片区)
Puji Pianqu (普吉片区)
Fengning Xiaoqu (丰宁小区)
Chunhui Xiaoqu (春晖小区)
Hongshan Xiaoqu (虹山片区)
Wuhua Shan Pianqu (五华山片区)
Luofeng Jie (螺峰街)
Cuihu Nanlu (翠湖南路)
Kundu Xiaoqu (瓦仓小区)
Chuanjin Lu (穿金路)
Xinying Xiaoqu (新迎小区)
Fengyuan Lu Pianqu (沣源路片区)
Heilinpu Pianqu (黑林铺片区)
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