Mrs Wei and her two sons are harvesting their cotton crop. "We cannot afford to invest in greenhouses and can only water our fields four times per year, which is far from enough" says Mrs. Wei. The plants grow through a thin layer of plastic placed to prevent any precious water from evaporating. All families and farmers in the area adhere to strict water rationing: if they exceed their quota they must pay a fine. However monitoring is difficult, irrigation routes are old, open and in disrepair. Pausing from cotton picking Mrs Wei simply adds, "The desertification is causing a lot of problems for people here."