China's Ministry of Water Resources outlined the country's eight-year water conservancy development program in Changsha at an on-going nationwide water conservancy work meeting.
Minister of Water Resources Wang Shucheng said water was a fundamental resource for life and social production, as well as a decisive element in ecological improvement.
Realizing the sustainable utilization of water resources would help the country build a well-off society in an all-round way, he said.
Therefore, in a bid to give all 1.3 billion Chinese people access to clean drinkable water, to guarantee water supply safety, and to improve the ecological environment, the ministry listed in its 2010 water conservancy blueprint:
-- Embankment construction of major rivers will all meet their designed quality requirements; out-of-date dams will be renovated or consolidated; anti-flood and disaster-alleviating systems should be built along every major river.
-- The first phase construction of the eastern and central south-north water diversion project will be completed, water shortages suffered by northern cities, such as Beijing and Tianjin, will be fundamentally alleviated.
-- The availability rate of tap water in the country's rural areas will reach 40 to 60 percent.
-- The water consumption volume for agricultural irrigation will remain stable by making the current irrigation system water-saving oriented.
-- About 46.7 million hectares of natural grassland will be recovered.
-- Soil erosion will be ended on about 500,000 square kilometers; Nearly 1 million sq. km of fragile land will be given special protection and supervision against erosion.
-- Water quality of the country's major rivers will be further improved; the ecological environment of some areas will be enhanced by prohibiting over-tapping of underground water.
-- Another 37 million rural people will have enough energy for their daily life and social production by building more small-scale hydraulic power plants.
-- A water saving-oriented society will be created through setting market-oriented water charges.
-- A water resources information network with information on flooding and droughts, water resources management and soil erosion alleviation will cover the whole nation.
(Xinhua News Agency January 6, 2003)