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Urban Water Supplies Extended to Rural Areas
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East China's Jiangsu Province is working on a long-term project to extend all of its urban water supply systems to the rural areas to give villagers access to clean drinking water.


On Tuesday, Vice Minister of Construction Qiu Baoxing said that extending urban water-supply pipelines to the rural areas would also help control exploitation of ground water.


In addition, Qiu said, paying for water use will contribute to rural people's awareness of the need to conserve resources. The fees would also help to speed rural water supply system construction.


The province first launched its urban-rural water supply network project three years ago, in the southern cities of Suzhou, Wuxi and Changzhou. The three cities began expanding their water supply plant capacities and extending pipes to towns and villages that had no ability to produce safe water for domestic and industrial use.


By 2003, the three cities were pumping water to more than 211 towns and 2,379 villages, providing safe water to more than 5.6 million people, or 69.8 percent of the region's total rural population.


Nationwide, only 19.6 percent of villages have access to water that meets national standards.


Deputy Director Wang Xiang, of the Jiangsu Province Construction Department said that the province is now launching its second urban-rural water supply project, which covers five cities in southern and eastern Jiangsu. Plans are being drafted for the third project, to cover the northern portion of the province.


Qiu Baoxing says that similar urban-rural water systems will gradually come into use in other parts of China.


(Xinhua News Agency May 12, 2004)

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