[집중취재M] The worst autumn drought in half a century… “Water cut off after 130 days”

◀ Anchor ▶

The worst drought in 49 years of observation continues in the Gwangju and Jennam regions.

Not one or two islands have already been cut off, and there is even a warning that tap water in Gwangju could be cut off.

The problem is that this drought will continue until next spring, and citizens are suffering from an unprecedented autumn drought.

Reporters Yang Jeong-eun from Mokpo and Lee Da-hyun from Gwangju visited the site.

◀ Report ▶

Nohwa Island, 30 km from Wando Port in Jeollanam-do.

A line of 15-ton trucks emerges from an abandoned mine built during Japan’s colonial era.

It was loaded with groundwater drawn from the bottom of the pit.

“Currently, it is estimated that 30,000 to 50,000 tonnes of groundwater is stored in the abandoned mine, and that 250 tonnes are supplied to nearby islands per day.”

They fill bottomless reservoirs with groundwater from these abandoned mines.

In the meantime, I did not use it because attention was drawn to the fact that it was inappropriate for drinking water, but now it is different from the water of life for the residents.

[이익수/전남 완도군 소안면]

“Right now, all the residents have personally bought and used all the water bottles. It’s a war here, a war.”

Due to the drought, which was worse than last March, there are now some islands where water only comes out one day a week.

[이현수/전남 완도군 소안면]

“I can’t even wash well… I save water as much as possible. And I get water for washing my hands and use a gourd to pour it in after going to the toilet, so I save it.”

Drought also dries up the sea.

The gimbal in the fish farm has lost its black luster and turned brown, and some have even turned yellow.

Yellowing and drought have reduced nutrients such as dissolved inorganic nitrogen in the water, and most of the seaweed farms have been hit.

[문길병/김 양식 어민]

“I think it’s the first time in my memory that we’ve had yellowing before the first harvest… Looking at the crop or things like that, I’m trying to get it now even if is half a punch…”

My biggest concern is drinking water.

The Metropolitan City of Gwangju, with a population of 1.4 million, was hit hard.

The upper stream of Dongbok Lake, which is used as the main source of drinking water, is full of dirt and gravel even when the water is dry.

[상수도사업본부 관계자]

“About this? I think we did this much last year. Yes.”

“In previous years, this spot was also full of water. Now the water has drained and the grass has grown so thick that it is difficult to walk around.”

The current water retention rate is 31%.

If this trend continues, the reservoir will dry up completely after 130 days, and Gwangju’s tap water, which uses 500,000 tons a day, could be cut off next spring.

[김경숙/광주 노대동]

“I also wash the dishes. I put PET bottles in the toilet and do it to save water if possible.”

It takes five months to install the pipeline to bring water from the nearby Yeongsan River, and at the moment there is no immediate way other than saving water.

The outlook for the future is bleak.

The worst autumn drought was caused by La Niña, which lowered water temperatures in the Eastern Pacific, bringing rain clouds to Southeast Asia and causing high temperature drought in southern China.

At the same time, the worst autumn drought occurred in the southwestern region of Korea.

The Korea Meteorological Administration expects the drought to continue until next spring, with less precipitation this winter than usual.

This is Lee Da-hyun from MBC News.

Video comment: Noh Young-il/Mokpo, Lee Jung-hyun/Gwangju

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