As it confronts a record-breaking heatwave, China is scrambling to alleviate electricity shortages and send more water to the Yangtze River’s drought-hit basin by deploying relief funds, seeding clouds, and discovering new sources of supplies.

For more than two months, searing temperatures have hindered agricultural growth, imperiled cattle, and caused companies in the southwest’s hydropower-dependent regions to shut down in order to maintain residential power supply.

China has consistently warned that it will experience an increase in extreme weather events in the coming years as it seeks to adjust to climate change and temperature rises that will be more severe than elsewhere. 

According to Cai Wenju, a researcher at Australia’s national scientific research institute, CSIRO, the current excessive heat is likely the result of a “special case” of high pressure from a West Pacific subtropical high extending over much of Asia.

After ordering energy-intensive metals and fertilizer businesses to reduce operations, China’s southwestern province of Sichuan announced on Wednesday that it will cut power supplies to households, offices, and shopping centers. 

According to the province government’s Sichuan Daily, government offices were ordered to set air conditioners no lower than 26 degrees Celsius (79 Fahrenheit) and use more staircases instead of lifts in what looks to be an official request to reduce energy use.

Fountains, light shows, and commercial activity after dark will be suspended, according to the announcement.

Due to power constraints, some enterprises in the expansive Chongqing region bordering Sichuan have announced a halt in production.

According to a state media report, Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng visited the State Grid Corporation on Wednesday and stated that more efforts were needed to maintain power supply for citizens and vital industries, as well as to prevent power outages.

Han stated that China should speed up the building of key projects, enhance power load management, and encourage the joint operation of coal power and renewable energy.

Source: Reuters

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