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Tibet to Extend Drinking Water to 1 Mln People by 2010
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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 faraway places.


"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 Namgvai.


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 people.


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)

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