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Projects Help Tibetans to Have Clean Water
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Thanks to new drinking water projects, 188,000 farmers and herdsmen in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, were able to access clean drinking water by the end of last year.

According to the latest statistics from the Office of Drinking Water Projects for Humans and Livestock in the region, a total of 1,174 small drinking water projects were constructed in Tibet from May until October last year. These projects made drinking water available to 188,000 farmers and herdsmen, and 2.2 million head of domestic animals in 918 villages.

On first seeing clean water gushing from an installed pipe, the residents of No 1 Village in Damquka Town of Damxung County near Lhasa, the regional capital, brimmed with enthusiasm. Dressed in festive attire, the villagers danced and sung around the water pipe.

"We villagers had access to electricity last year, and we have clean drinking water this year. I never dreamed I would see the two major events take place in my village," said Zhabsang, 65, who has been Party branch secretary for the No 1 Village for more than 30 years.

Zhabsang attributed the improvements to changes in the policy and the continued support of the central government.

He said that he was confident in leading his villagers to a happier life in the future.

Tibet enjoys a vast expanse of land and rich water resources. But arid and semi-arid areas make up 70 percent of the region's total land space due to uneven distribution of precipitation, leading to severe water shortages for people and livestock.

By the end of 2000, there were still 550,000 people and 5 million head of domestic animals facing water shortages, according to an official from the Office of Drinking Water Projects for Humans and Livestock in Tibet.

The central government and various levels of local government in Tibet have attached great importance to settling the issue of water shortages in the region. To date, the central government has invested 100 million yuan (US$12 million) in building water projects in Tibet.

As a result, more than 500,000 people and over 5.7 million head of livestock have been given access to clean drinking water over the past 40 years.

The regional water conservation bureau has worked out a plan to invest another 480 million yuan (US$58 million) in building more than 3,000 drinking water projects in the 2001-05 period.

(Xinhua News Agency February 18, 2003)

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