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China to Improve Water Supply

Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu said Saturday China will speed up construction of water supply projects, while giving priority to water conservancy for sustainable use of water resources in the coming year.

Addressing the annual national work conference on water resources, the vice premier said China would also strengthen its capacity building of disaster reduction, do more to prevent water and soil erosion and step up ecological construction.

He called on localities to attach great importance to water conservancy projects for the country's basic farmland as part of the efforts to improve their comprehensive agricultural production capacity.

Hui called for efforts to bring the initiatives of farmers in contributing to water conservancy projects for farmland while governments at various should increase their investment in those projects.

The country's ongoing rural tax overhual, which was designed to alleviate farmers' financial burden, has made it difficult for local governments to raise money needed for those projects from farmers.

The deputy premier said China has made great progress in the past five years in construction of the country's water conservancy projects with a great number of major projects that have great bearing on national economy and people's life put into operation.

China has deepened its reform of water prices and water resources management mechanism during the past five years, he said.

Water shortage, however, remains a critical issue in China with weak flood-control capacity across the country, he said.

Unsafe drinking water still remains an outstanding problem in rural areas, and great efforts should be made to tackle the issues of water pollution and water and soil erosion, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 18, 2005)

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