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HEAT, DROUGHT SPUR PLEAS IN CHINA TO CUT WATER CONSUMPTION

SHARE HEAT, DROUGHT SPUR PLEAS IN CHINA TO CUT WATER CONSUMPTION

Sweltering heat without rain has left China's capital foundering in the worst drought of the century with municipal officials urging residents to reduce water consumption.

Beijing "is rapidly reaching water scarcity and facing limits to further economic development due to the persistent spell of dry weather, " Teng Shutang, the general-engineer of the Municipal Water Resources Bureau, said.Clobbered by an 18-month drought, officials warned an acute water shortage will appear in the next three months. Last week supply exceeded capacity of 1.04 million tons a day as the mercury crept above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).

Teng said Beijing has been relying on its limited supplies stored in the two largest reservoirs, the Miyun and Guanting. Both are fed only by annual rainfall.

The city needs at least 1 billion cubic meters of water from the reservoirs to meet its basic annual consumption needs, Teng said, but the reservoirs have been forced to yield an extra 500 million cubic meters of water from reserves as rainfall has decreased.

"The reserve storage will be used up in the next few years without effective water-saving measures with the prolonged scorching weather," Teng warned.