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Clean water to all rural areas by 2015
Latest Updated by 2006-09-05 09:16:07
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One hundred and sixty million people in China's rural areas will get clean and safe drinking water in the next five years and by 2015 all Chinese rural residents will be provided with safe potable water, Minister of Water Resources Wang Shucheng said yesterday.

Wang said 312 million Chinese villagers now face water shortages or unsafe water contaminated by fluorine, arsenic, high levels of salt or other organic or industrial pollutants.

Although the budget has not been firmly set, the minister said the country plans to invest about 40 billion yuan (US$5 billion) over the next 10 years on safe water supply projects.

Wang said China is likely to far exceed its UN Millennium Development Goal, which was to reduce by half the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015.

Worldwide, one in every six people is without safe, potable water and in China there are more than 50 diseases caused and spread by unsafe water, said Zhai Haohui, vice minister of Water Resources.

China's 11th five-year plan for 2006-2010, approved last March, called for safe and potable water to be provided to 100 million rural residents. That target number was raised to 160 million after a State Council conference on rural drinking water safety held on August 30.

Wang said the increased pace in providing drinking water to China's thirsty rural areas is in line with the central government plan to build a new socialist countryside.

According to Wang, the central government will increase investment in rural water supply projects and encourage more private investment in rural infrastructure construction.

Wang said more capital from the central government will flow into the poorer western regions of China in the coming years.

Water supply facilities in urban centers will be extended to villages located in city suburbs. Villages far from urban areas will see the construction of water supply facilities, said the minister.

In areas where local water is contaminated by fluorine, arsenic or high levels of salt, special water treatment and water supply facilities will be built, said Wang.

While China works to resolve its own water problems, Wang said, the country has helped fund 83 water and sanitation projects in other developing countries, and dispatched technologists to African countries where they have worked on local water supply projects.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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