Rural Projects Aim to Ensure Clean Drinking Water

China is injecting a record 4 billion yuan (US$481 million) into rural water supply projects aimed at ensuring sufficient and clean drinking water for more than 24 million poor rural residents.

Zhai Haohui, vice-minister of water resources, was confident that such massive investment will help solve the shortage of drinking water.

Water shortage has become a major factor restricting the improvement of the living standards of the rural poor.

"Many of the thirsty poor have to fetch drinking water from sources more than 10 km from their homes, while some have to drink water with high fluorine or arsenic content that is harmful to their health," an expert with the ministry said.

In the year 2000, China launched a plan to raise 24 million rural people, the last of its 30 million still in chronic poverty, out of destitution by improving their water supplies and irrigation systems.

Their plight was caused by a lack of sufficient and clean drinking water and insufficient water for irrigation, caused by a worsening local ecological environment and water-related calamities, such as droughts and soil erosion.

During the 1996-2000 period, water supply projects have ensured drinking water for 225 million rural people.

At present, the number of farmers enjoying tapped-in water has reached 370 million.

However, some 24 million farmers in China's hinterland still have great difficulty getting water because of harsh local natural conditions.

"Our anti-poverty program is designed to get this 24 million access to drinkable water by 2003," Zhai said yesterday at a meeting on the issue.

(China Daily December 7, 2001)

In This Series

Millions of Chinese Survive Unprecedented Drought

Construction of China's Largest Urban Water Supply Project Underway

Funds Slated for Regional Water Planning

China's Urban Wastewater Treatment Attracts Global Attention

Water Resources Become Urgent Issue for China

Capital to Impose Quota to Save Water


Water Crisis Predicted for China by 2030

Water Diversion Project Ready for Construction in 2002

China Moves to Improve Drinking Water Quality

Natural Causes Blamed for Descent of Qinghai Lake

City Weighs Recycling of Home Water

Ministry Provides Public Information on Flooding

Goals Set to Save Water Resources


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