Shocking pictures have emerged showing that China's largest freshwater lake has partially dried up.
Much of the Poyang Lake, which is about three times the size of Greater
London, has disappeared after the northern part of China's Jiangxi
Province had suffered from a shortage of rainfall since mid-September.
In the images, taken on November 2 in the city of Lushan, the once
expansive and abundant lake had turned into a huge grassland, allowing
residents to walk across on foot.
The size of the Poyang Lake fluctuates every year.
It has been recorded to cover 4,500 square kilometres (1,737 square
miles) at its largest, according to Jiangxi Poyang National Nature
Reserve Authority - about three times the size of Greater London which
covers 1,572 square kilometres (607 square miles).
Historically, the lake was known for its abundance in freshwater fish
and shrimps and supplied water resources for nearby rice fields.
However, pictures taken this week in Jiujiang revealed scenes a world away.
In Jiujiang's Lushan district, a huge ship could be seen stranded on the former lake bed of Poyang.
The Luixingdun island, once used as a navigation mark and lighthouse,
was surrounded by expansive grass as cattle grazed in the field.
A pagoda and a temple, once situated in the middle of the lake, stood on the dried lake bed alone.
According to the Xingzi Hydrological Station, the water level of Poyang declined to 10.6 metres (34.8 feet) on November 3.
The low-water level has raised an alarm in the local fishing industry.
Fishermen have complained about the number and size of the fish they
managed to catch.
Furthermore, the fishing season was shortened by two months this year as water started receding in September.
The local fishery bureau also said the fish resources of Poyang Lake had decreased gradually in the past decade.
The Poyang Lake regularly dries out in winter. However, this year's dry spell came 54 days earlier than usual.
The water level of Xingzi section fell below 12 meters (39.4 foot) on September 19, marking the early onset of the dry season.
According to Jiangxi Hydrology Bureau, the low-water period of Poyang
Lake has become longer since 1952. The water level of the lake, which is
connected to the Yangtze river, started receding earlier and earlier