Tibet plans to
extend clean drinking water to 1.2 million people by 2010 and will
tackle the problem of contaminated drinking water for 300,000
people this year, said sources with the region's department of
water resources Wednesday.
"In many areas of Tibet, such as Qamdo and Nyingchi, water
contains too much arsenic or fluorin, or too little selenium," said
Daindar Namgvai, a water resources department inspector.
Tibet has the highest incidence of Kaschin-Beck disease --
caused by a selenium deficiency in water -- in the country. Almost
one in ten Tibetans suffer from the disease, which bloats the
joints. Almost three percent of the Tibetan population are unable
to work because of the disease.
Tibetan households in rural areas not only suffer from
unsanitary drinking water but are also forced to fetch water from
"Sometimes, they have to carry the water on their backs several
times a day, which makes their life even harder," said Namgvai.
With no wastewater treatment plant, the region is trying to find
healthy water resources for rural dwellers, according to
In Qudeng Village of Damxung County, drinking water comes from
the mountains via pipelines and villagers share seven taps.
Last year, Tibet carried out 870 drinking water projects,
sinking 62 motorized wells and 1,320 wells for household use, at a
cost of 230 million yuan, which provided more than 300,000 farmers
and herdsmen with safe drinking water.
Some international organizations have also contributed to the
drinking water projects. "Save the Children," a UK-based fund, has
made donations to 115 projects, providing potable water for 25,000
China's central government said on Monday it will invest in 180
projects in Tibet by 2010, covering infrastructure construction,
education, social security and environmental conservation as a
means of pushing the region's economic and social development.
(Xinhua News Agency March 29, 2007)