- Poyang Lake in rural Jiangxi province is a popular tourist attraction
- But drought and a new water storage facility has caused it to dry up
- Region now faces water shortages while the local fishing industry has been decimated
By Suzannah Hills
PUBLISHED: 15:24 EST, 21 January 2014 | UPDATED: 17:48 EST, 21 January 2014
The largest freshwater lake in China which covers an expanse twice the size of London has dried up because of an ongoing drought.
Poyang Lake in rural Jiangxi province is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions.
But the combination of drought and a new water storage facility upstream at the Three Gorges reservoir - the world's biggest dam - has caused water levels to drop to dangerously low levels.
Dry land: The pavilion and tower in the distance used to be based in the centre of China's largest lake which has dried up because of drought
Commuters ride across the dry lake bed which was under water just a few weeks ago
How it normally looks: The Poyang Lake pictured when water levels are at their usual height
Much of the 3,500 sq km lake's water has now completely disappeared meaning tourists can now visit a pavilion and tower situated in the middle by foot instead of by the traditional boat.
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The drought revealed an ancient stone bridge earlier this month which had been hidden underneath the lake's water.
The 2,930-metre-long stone bridge, dating to AD1631, is made of granite and was one of around 1,000 similar stone bridges constructed during the Ming dynasty, the Beijing News reported.
A cow lies down on the dry lake bed in Jiangxi Province after little rainfall and a new water storage facility caused it to dry up
The tower based in the middle of what was once the Poyang lake is still a big tourist attraction - but visitors can now walk to it instead of getting a boat
The drought has also affected the lake's wetland vegetation growth and taken a toll on its ecology.
The region faces drinking water shortages and the local fishing industry has been decimated.
The lack of fish means there is no food for the half a million migrating birds which usually break their journey at Poyang.
The drought has had a big impact on the lake's wetland vegetation and has completely decimated the local fishing industry
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