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Drought in China leads to factory closures, prolonged power outages

Factories in China’s southwest have closed and one city imposed intermittent power outages after reservoirs to produce hydroelectric power dried up amid worsening drought, worsening drought. economic tensions at a time when President Xi Jinping is trying to prolong his time in power.

Companies in Sichuan province, including manufacturers of solar panels and cement, have closed or reduced production after they were ordered to provide electricity for up to five days, according to a Wednesday news release. . This happened after the reservoir water level dropped and the power demand for the air conditioner increased during scorching heat conditions.

“Leave power to the people,” ordered the provincial government on Tuesday.

According to the Sichuan Provincial Department of Economy and Information Technology, in Sichuan, home to 94 million people, the water level in hydroelectric reservoirs has decreased the most in half a month.

Officials carried out artificial rain-seeding operations on Tuesday as part of drought relief measures amid heatwave warnings in Zigui county of Yichang, Hubei province. (China Daily / Reuters)

The power company in Dazhou, a city in Sichuan of 3.4 million people, imposed a two-and-a-half-hour power cut this week and extended that Wednesday to three hours, according to The Paper in Shanghai. . The Securities Times reported that office buildings in Chengdu, the provincial capital, were asked to turn off their air conditioning.

The shutdown adds to challenges for the ruling Communist Party as Mr. Xi, the country’s most powerful leader in decades, prepares to try to break with tradition and give himself a leadership term. 5 years for the third time at a meeting in October or November.

After COVID closed

Factory output growth and retail sales weakened in July, hampering China’s economic recovery after Shanghai and other industrial hubs were closed starting late March to combat outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.

The economy grew only 2.5% year-on-year in the first half of 2022, less than half of the official annual target of 5.5%.

Regions across central and northern China have ordered urgent measures to be taken to ensure supplies of drinking water after summer rains are only half of normal levels. The Xinhua news agency said fire trucks carried water to two arid villages near Chongqing in the southwest.

According to the government, hundreds of thousands of hectares of crops across central and northern China have wilted due to lack of water and high temperatures. Some areas reported a failed summer growing season.

The weather agency has warned temperatures in some areas could soar as high as 40 degrees Celsius.

A subsidiary of Guoguang Co. specializes in the production of pesticides and fertilizers was closed from Monday to at least Saturday, the company announced through the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Solar equipment manufacturers in Sichuan, including Tongwei Solar and GCL-Poly Energy Holdings, said they had received notices about the meals.

“Power cuts and production shutdowns have not had much of an impact,” said Tongwei, business news outlet East Money.

Last year, China faced similar tensions when the southeastern province of Guangdong, one of the world’s most important manufacturing hubs, ordered the closure of factories after hydroelectric lakes depleted due to sparse rain.

According to Xinhua, the government has allocated 280 million yuan ($53.1 million) for drought relief in the provinces of Hebei, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia to the north and Liaoning province to the northeast. , according to Xinhua News Agency.

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