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Winter drought leaves Kosovo with shortages of drinking water

  • c313bd8e236f5601480f6a7067003640.jpg

    Freshwater mussels lie in the cracked dry bed of Batllava artificial lake in northern Kosovo on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, after record low water levels threatened to leave hundreds of thousands of people without water supply. Authorities have reduced water supplies for hundreds of thousands of people after an unusually dry winter season. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu) (The Associated Press)

  • c4709f3c236b5601480f6a70670010b7.jpg

    A boat lies stranded on the shores of the Batllava artificial lake in northern Kosovo on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, after record low water levels threaten to leave hundreds of thousands of people without a water supply. Authorities have reduced water supplies for hundreds of thousands of people after a unusually dry winter season. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu) (The Associated Press)

  • b80c9d8d236a5601480f6a7067000ef4.jpg

    A boat lies stranded on the shores of the Batllava artificial lake in northern Kosovo on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, after record low water levels threaten to leave hundred of thousands of people without a water supply. Authorities have reduced water supplies for hundreds of thousands of people after a unusually dry winter season. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu) (The Associated Press)

In 2013, winter brought heavy rains and flooding to Kosovo. The year before that, it was blizzards and snow drifts. Now it's a drought.

An official said Wednesday that some 400,000 people in and around Pristina, the capital, could face reduced supplies of drinking water, given a dramatic fall in the levels of the two artificial basins they get it from.

Arieta Mjeku, a spokeswoman for the regional water supply company, said strict reductions must be imposed if the winter drought continues. Mjeku said some areas are already on limited water supply.

Mid-January could bring much needed snow, but the receding waters in the two lakes have exposed large sections of cracked, dry earth.

Kosovo, a territory of 1.8 million people, seceded from Serbia in 2008.