Millions of people in northern China are without drinking water due to a prolonged dry spell that has prompted drought relief efforts, the South China Morning Post reported. The government’s flood and drought control agency called on local governments on Sunday to draw up plans to ensure drinking water supplies. According to official statistics, rainfall in the northeast and some parts of the north and west is 30-80% below normal levels for the time of year. Water flowing into the Liao, Yellow and Songhua rivers is down by up to 20% while the water levels in major reservoirs serving Beijing, Ningxia and Shanxi are much lower than normal. The northern droughts, which represent a complete contrast to the snowstorms recently seen in the south, are believed to have affected 11 million hectares of farmland, nearly 1% China’s total. About 2.43 million people and 1.89 million cattle are said to be short of drinking water.