AP PHOTOS: Drought changes landscape in southwest China

Aug 23, 2022, 9:43 PM | Updated: Aug 24, 2022, 6:08 am
FILE - Cracked dry mud is seen in a community reservoir that ran nearly empty after its retaining w...

FILE - Cracked dry mud is seen in a community reservoir that ran nearly empty after its retaining wall started to leak and hot weather and drought conditions accelerated the loss of water Longquan village in southwestern China's Chongqing Municipality, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022. The very landscape of Chongqing, a megacity that also takes in surrounding farmland and steep and picturesque mountains, has been transformed by an unusually long and intense heat wave and an accompanying drought. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

CHONGQING, China (AP) — River bottoms partially exposed by drought create a rare sight that becomes an urban beach at dusk to escape the withering heat. Farmlands baked by the sun leave rice stalks yellowed, the famed hot pepper plants all but bereft of fruit, the reservoirs reduced to a puddle of water and cracked earth.

The very landscape of Chongqing, a megacity that also takes in surrounding farmland and steep and picturesque mountains, has been transformed by an unusually long and intense heat wave and an accompanying drought.

Chinese meteorologists are calling it the nation’s strongest heat wave since record keeping began in 1961, based on its intensity, geographic area and duration. Now into its third month, it has surpassed the previous record of 61 days in 2013. Temperatures are topping 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in cities and villages across southern China. Chongqing in the southwest has been hit particularly hard.

At Longquan village in the rolling hills south of urban Chongqing, a farmer walks across cracked mud at the bottom of a community reservoir that was once full of water. The reservoir’s retaining wall sprang a leak a few months ago, and with the heat and drought, only a puddle a few meters (yards) across remains.

To the north, Li Siming walks through his fields yellowing rice plants in Mu’er town as the sound of jets landing at a nearby airport echoed off the hillsides. With the supply limited, the communal water that would normally go to his rice crops was diverted to fruit orchards instead.

“We pray to the god, but the god wouldn’t rain. We ask the local government, but the government wouldn’t give us water,” Li said.

He is using expensive tap water to irrigate his fields. He estimates his harvest from 3 hectares (7 acres) of land will be 400 kilograms (880 pounds) of rice — less than a third of his usual one. Farmers have moved forward the harvest by half a month so the crops won’t dry up, but before the grains are fully developed.

A strong high-pressure ridge parked over western Russia is behind the heat waves in both China and Europe this summer. The extreme heat is likely connected to human-caused climate change — though scientists have yet to do the calculations and computer simulations to say that for certain.

The Jialing River, a tributary of the Yangtze, has shrunk in places to less than half the width of its channel through the heart of Chongqing. Residents and visitors make their way across boulders on the exposed riverbed to pose for selfies and look at the remaining flow of water. At dusk, a squad of uniformed officers uses megaphones to order the throngs back to the higher ground of an adjacent promenade.

Along the Yangtze, which also runs through downtown Chongqing, families and children play in the shallow water near the base of an exposed bridge support column. Muddy streaks along the column more than 8 meters (25 feet) above their heads mark previous river levels. As darkness falls, a woman, illuminated by her smartphone, sits on a rocky outcropping that would normally be submerged in the middle of the river.

___

Associated Press video producer Olivia Zhang contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is welcomed to the stage by Maine Gov. Paul L...
Associated Press

Shying from Trump, ex-Maine Gov. Paul LePage seeks job back

YARMOUTH, Maine (AP) — When then-Maine Gov. Paul LePage endorsed Donald Trump in 2016, he credited himself as a prototype for the insurgent presidential candidate. “I was Donald Trump before Donald Trump became popular, so I think I should support him since we are one of the same cloth,” said LePage, whose two terms in […]
7 hours ago
A member of the Zion Ahmadiyya Muslim community attends Friday prayer in Zion, Ill., on Friday, Sep...
Associated Press

Two prophets, century-old prayer duel inspire Zion mosque

A holy miracle happened in Zion 115 years ago. Or so millions of Ahmadi Muslims around the world believe. The Ahmadis view this small-sized city, 40 miles north of Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan, as a place of special religious significance for their global messianic faith. Their reverence for the community began more […]
7 hours ago
A member of the Zion Ahmadiyya Muslim community attends Friday prayer in Zion, Ill., on Friday, Sep...
Associated Press

Two prophets, century-old prayer duel inspire Zion mosque

ZION, Illinois (AP) — A holy miracle happened in Zion 115 years ago. Or so millions of Ahmadi Muslims around the world believe. The Ahmadis view this small-sized city, 40 miles north of Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan, as a place of special religious significance for their global messianic faith. Their reverence for […]
7 hours ago
FILE - Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers, speaks during a rally outside the White House i...
Associated Press

Trump at center of Oath Keepers novel defense in Jan. 6 case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The defense team in the Capitol riot trial of the Oath Keepers leader is relying on an unusual strategy with Donald Trump at the center. Lawyers for Stewart Rhodes, founder of the extremist group, are poised to argue that jurors cannot find him guilty of seditious conspiracy because all the actions he […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

Sweden: Right-wing party get 4 chairmanships in parliament

STOCKHOLM (AP) — A right-wing populist party that received the second-most votes in Sweden’s general election last month landed the chairmanships of four parliamentary committees Saturday and with it, the ability to wield more influence in mainstream Swedish politics. The positions to be held by lawmakers from the Sweden Democrats include chairing the Riksdag’s justice, […]
7 hours ago
Ketanji Brown Jackson, the second-youngest justice on the current Supreme Court, will join her coll...
Associated Press

Supreme Court poised to keep marching to right in new term

WASHINGTON (AP) — With public confidence diminished and justices sparring openly over the institution’s legitimacy, the Supreme Court on Monday will begin a new term that could push American law to the right on issues of race, voting and the environment. Following June’s momentous overturning of nearly 50 years of constitutional protections for abortion rights, […]
7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
AP PHOTOS: Drought changes landscape in southwest China