China says it will try to protect its grain harvest from record-setting drought by using chemicals to generate rain, while factories in the southwest waited Sunday to see whether they would be shut down for another week due to shortages of water to generate hydropower.
The hottest, driest summer since the government began recording rainfall and temperature 61 years ago has wilted crops and left reservoirs at half their normal water level. Factories in Sichuan province were shut down last week to save power for homes as air conditioning demand surged, with temperatures as high as 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit).
The coming 10 days are a “key period of damage resistance” for southern China’s rice crop, said Agriculture Minister Tang Renjian, according to the newspaper Global Times.
Authorities will take emergency steps to “ensure the autumn grain harvest,” which is 75% of China’s annual total, Tang said Friday, according to the report.
Authorities will “try to increase rain” by seeding clouds with chemicals and spraying crops with a “water retaining agent” to limit evaporation, Tang’s ministry said on its website. It gave no details of where that would be done. [Continue reading…]