About 2.4 million people in the provinces of Zhejiang, Guangdong and Fujian had already been affected by the drought, and concerns were growing in Guangxi, Hunan and Yunnan, the ministry said.
In Taizhou, Zhejiang, the residents of Sanmen county are dealing with their worst drought in 50 years, according to a report by state broadcaster CCTV.
Local authorities have ordered the water supply to people’s homes to be switched off on alternate days, and non-essential businesses that use large quantities of water have been told to suspend their operations.
In rural areas, drinking water is delivered to residents by fire engines and new wells are being sunk in a bid to increase the supply.
Chen Yun, who lives in Sanmen, said he had never seen such a drought.
“This year is very, very special,” the 30-year-old said in an interview. “We never lacked water in winter here before.”
Wang Zhangmeng, who owns a car wash in the Zhejiang city of Wenzhou, said the drought had had a major impact on people’s lives.
“It hasn’t rained for several months. I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.
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