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400-Year-Old Stone Bridge Discovered After Poyang Lake Dries up in China

An ancient stone bridge has appeared in China's largest freshwater lake, the Poyang Lake, after the lake water dried up.

The 2,930-metre-long stone bridge, dating to AD 1631, is entirely made of granite and was built during Ming dynasty reign. The country saw construction of about 1,000 such stone bridges above the water during the rule, the Beijing News (Xin Jing Bao) reported.

The bridge was shown because of a continuous decline in the water level of the lake.

Poyang Lake in Jiangxi province that serves as a reservoir for the Yangtze River is spread across 4,500 square kilometres but has been shrinking due to drought conditions and water storage in Three Gorges Dam upstream.

Water levels in the lake have dropped below 10 meters during its annual dry season, according to the the People's Government of Jiangxi Province.

The depleting water levels have exposed Poyang's grassland lakebed, affected its wetland vegetation growth and have a toll on its ecology. The region faces scarcity of drinking water while local fishing industry's future is already at risk.

The drying Poyang Lake also puts migratory birds at risk of hunger due to the drought. In 2012, shrimps, millet and maize were air-dropped over Poyang Lake to feed hundreds of thousands of birds that flew to the lake in summer for breeding.

Jiangxi Hydrological Bureau cited failed rainfall as the reason for low water levels but experts noted that global warming has gradually prolonged Poyang Lake's dry season over a period of 50 years.

In November, Xinhua reported that reduced water supply from the Yangtze River and low precipitation in Jiangxi was responsible for the drying of Poyang Lake.

In 2012, dip in water levels was at record low of 9.98 meters, four meters lower than the average levels every year.