News from the Columbia Climate School

Drought in China

Currently, in Northern China, they are experiencing the worst drought they have had in at least 50 years, according to the New York Times. This is extremely problematic for the people because 3/5 of the country’s wheat is grown in this area.

 

Property of Government of China www.gov.cn/english
Property of Government of China www.gov.cn/english


Over 18,000 acres of farmland is in risk because of the drought, and if they do not receive rain soon, farmers could lose between as little as 1/3 of their crop or as much as all of it.  Much of the region has not received significant rain since October, but luckily it received a small amount this week.  If they want to recover from the drought and to be able to plant crops this year, they will need significantly more rain.

 

The water issues seen in China because of this drought are similar to what will be seen all over the world if we do not find a solution to our overuse of groundwater and renewable water resources.

Irrigation in this part of China is nonexistent and due to costs of pumping water, many poor farmers cannot afford to water their crops, so unless there is rain, they will have no other way to save their crops and therefore, will have no income.  The government is planning farming subsidies and help for these farmers, but it is not certain if it will be enough.

This drought shows us just another way that water can be so essential.  Just 14 years ago, wells were plentiful and full of water, and now the water table has dropped so low that some villages are desperate for water. 

The water issues seen in China because of this drought are similar to what will be seen all over the world if we do not find a solution to our overuse of groundwater and renewable water resources.

Science for the Planet: In these short video explainers, discover how scientists and scholars across the Columbia Climate School are working to understand the effects of climate change and help solve the crisis.
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