Poyang Lake in rural China's Jiangxi province is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. But the combination of drought and a new water storage facility upstream has caused water levels to drop to dangerously low levels.
Ah, the world's biggest dam at the Three Gorges reservoir is the cause rather than the global environment.
Even as far back as 2011, conservation groups voiced opposition to government plan of building the reservoir.
Now, the combination of the dammed water and the drought has affected the lake's wetland vegetation growth and taken a toll on its ecology. Apart from devastating the life of fish and birds, people in the region face drinking water shortages and the local fishing industry has been decimated.
Because of the lack of fish, there is no food for the half a million migrating birds which usually break their journey there. The lake is fed by five rivers and connects to the lower reaches of the Yangtze. Lake waters flow into the area during dry seasons, while in the rainy seasons Poyang is replenished with floods.
Poyang's dynamic ecosystem provides a unique and critical habitat for a variety of waterbirds, many of which are endangered species. The government has recently flown in food drops for birds.
The International Crane Foundation reports that about 98 percent of the world's Siberian cranes depend on the lake for survival each winter. The area is also home to more than 120 species of fish and 300 species of birds.
In another part of the world, the Brazilian Government plans to build the Belo Monte Dam in the Amazon rainforest. A Brazilian judge has ordered that work on the controversial dam be halted on grounds that environmental commitments were not met. Stay tuned for further developments.
I read somewhere about an ancient king's tomb inscription while speak about changing the course of a river. I can't find it now to give you the proper quote, but it announced proudly that the king didn't divert the flow of any mighty rivers. Perhaps he understood the ramifications, even then. Why don't authorities consider the damage they might be doing now?
I leave you with a rather beautiful inscription on the tomb of the eminent philosopher Cleobulus (c 600 B.C.), the author of songs and riddles, making some 3000 lines in all.
"I am a maiden of bronze and I rest upon Midas's tomb. So long as water shall flow and tall trees grow, and the sun shall rise and shine, and the bright moon, and rivers shall run and the sea wash the shore, here abiding on his tear-sprinkled tomb I shall tell the passers-by --- Midas is buried here."