The Stream, August 24, 2022: China Issues Drought Alert Amid Record High Heat and Declining Water Supplies

The Yangtze River near Chongqing. Photo © J. Carl Ganter/Circle of Blue


  • Record rains fall in Dallas, Texas
  • China issues its first drought alert of the year as rivers run dry across the country.
  • Heat waves and drought impact energy supplies across Europe.

Mobile home residents across the United States regularly experience flooding and water outages as large companies buy out communities. 

“But by the tenth time it flooded, I had started reaching my limits.”

— Mike Noel, a resident at Heritage Plantation, a mobile home park near Vero Beach, Florida.

Big companies are buying mobile home parks across the country, NPR reports. The companies make millions of dollars in profit by collecting and often raising rent for low-income residents, and spending little on basic maintenance and upkeep. Residents say they have suffered from constant sewage backups, faulty stormwater drainage systems, and even prolonged drinking water and energy outages. At Heritage Park, some residents have filed a lawsuit against Equity Lifestyle Partners, the company that owns the mobile home community, for failing to disclose flood risk. 

— Jane Johnston, Stream Editor

Recent WaterNews from Circle of Blue

“Fighting for Inches” in the Southeast’s Struggle With Salt — Can coastal agriculture withstand rising seas, migrating marshlands, and frequent storms? 

What’s Up With Water–August 23, 2022 – This week’s episode of What’s Up With Water covers a potential catastrophic winter storm in California and new research that revealed what may be causing high case numbers of pediatric cancer in Pennsylvania. Plus, Circle of Blue breaks down the latest water cuts in the Colorado River basin.

Drought in the American West

  • As of August 16, just over 49 percent of land area in the lower 48 states are in drought, down seven percentage points in the last month.
  • The Gila River Indian Community pulls out of a water conservation agreement due to little progress on basin-wide water cuts.
  • An Arizona agricultural coalition proposes the federal government pay farmers to conserve water.
  • Top celebrities are among the highest water consumers in California, surpassing mandatory restrictions by over 150 percent.

For this week’s biggest headlines out of the drying American West, read Circle of Blue’s weekly roundup.

This Week’s Top Water Stories, Told In Numbers


Nearly 9.2 inches of rain fell across the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas this week, making it the second wettest day ever recorded in Dallas. At least one fatality had been reported as of Tuesday evening. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins declared a state of disaster for the area, and requested state and federal assistance. 

  • Texas’s Lingering Water Crisis: In the winter of 2021, Texas faced a different type of water crisis. After a deep freeze lifted across the state, water from frozen pipes flooded streets and buildings. That wasn’t the first time Texans failed to prepare for water crises. In 2011, an earlier deep freeze caused blackouts. That same year, Texas was ripped by a harsh drought that wrecked crops and caused panics over water shortages. In 2017, a hurricane drowned Houston. Water supply is in a precarious state across the southern industry hub. The story of Texas is the state’s devout allegiance to the principle that mankind has dominion over nature. In 2020, the pandemic, climate disruption, and ever-present challenges with water supply and use are writing a much different story of vulnerability to nature’s bullying, and to government’s uncertain capacity to adjust. 


China issued its first national drought alert of the year last week, according to Reuters. Government officials have repeatedly blamed global climate change for extreme heat across several states and low water levels on the country’s largest rivers. State media reported that 66 rivers in the southwestern region of Chongqing have dried up. The region has borne the brunt of recent extreme weather, accounting for six of the 10 hottest locations in the nation late last week. Firefighters have battled forest fires across Chongqing, and state media has reported increases in heatstroke. 

  • More China Drought News:  As Chinese farmers attempt to protect grain harvests, government officials say they will implement cloud seeding operations and spray crops with a “water retaining agent.” Factories in the country’s southwest Sichuan province have also suffered, many of which have closed their doors after reservoirs stopped producing hydropower.

On the Radar

Summer heat waves have also impacted energy supplies across Europe. In Norway, hydropower reservoir supplies have dropped to 25-year lows, causing shortages that have raised energy costs and driven political tensions. Great Britain, France, and Germany have also experienced strains on energy. Experts say the continent-wide drought has spotlighted the need to transform energy systems. 

More Water News

Australia Dam Project Dead: After an assessment revealed the cost of a dam project in New South Wales would be more than double original estimates, government officials and experts believe it will not move forward. 

U.K. Wastewater: Data reveals that every wastewater company in England and Wales failed to meet targets to reduce pollution and sewage floods.

Israel Desalination: Israel plans to replenish its freshwater lakes with desalinated water from the Mediterranean Sea.

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