Clean drinking water is expected to reach every rural family by
the end of next year, water resources officials promised
More than 15.6 million rural residents are expected to have
access to clean drinking water by the end of this year, officials
said at a national conference on drinking water for the rural
population, which opened yesterday in Shijiazhuang, capital of
north China's Hebei Province.
Almost 26 million rural people in China, especially in northern
areas such as Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Inner Mongolia and Gansu,
still lack clean drinking water, statistics show.
"We have made breakthroughs in opening up the rural residents'
access to drinking water," Vice Minister of Water Resources Zhai
"The rural water supply project will guarantee the safety of
drinking water for rural residents after 2004, when we expect to
solve the water shortages in the countryside."
By the end of this year, construction of more than 700,000 new
water processing facilities will be completed, including more than
100,000 major water supply systems in rural areas, ministry
Drinking water has been a challenge to obtain for approximately
50.2 million rural Chinese, especially in northern and western
regions, according to statistics for early 2000 from the Ministry of Water
In some areas, local farmers have to go several kilometers away
to get drinking water, and water shortages have led to poverty and
low farming efficiency, Zhai said.
In 2000, China launched a project with a total investment of 17
billion yuan (US$2.1 billion) to build water resources projects,
including digging wells and desalinating alkali-salt water for
millions of farmers.
"We are expecting to reach the goal of providing enough clean
drinking water for 50.2 million rural residents one year ahead of
schedule in 2004," according to Zhao Leshi, an official with the
"We had solved the drinking water problem for over 24 million
people in rural areas by the end of 2002."
(Xinhua News Agency November 4, 2003)