CHINGQING, CHINA — As crops wilt due to the one of the hottest, driest summers recorded in the last 61 years, China plans to seed clouds with chemicals to increase rain and spray crops with a water retaining agent to limit evaporation, the Associated Press (AP) reported.  

Reservoirs are at half their normal level and factors in some provinces have shut down to save power for homes. Agriculture Minister Tang Renjian said the next 10 days are a key period of damage resistance for southern China’s rice crop.

The ministry gave no details of where the cloud seeding would be done.

The governments of Sichuan and neighboring Hubei province say thousands of hectares of crops are a total loss and millions have been damaged, AP said.

Hubei’s government declared a drought emergency on Aug. 20 and said it would release disaster aid. The Sichuan government said 819,000 people face a shortage of drinking water.

Other areas have suffered deadly flash floods.

Flooding in the northwestern province of Qinghai killed at least 26 people and left five missing. Mudslides and overflowing rivers hit six villages in Datong county.