More than 36,000 farmers and herdsmen in the Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China had been able to fetch water for daily life more easily in the past five years, thanks to the implementation of a national charity project that provides water storage cellars in the country's poor, dry areas.
Shang Fengying, head of the development department of the regional women's federation, said the region poured more than 5.1 million yuan (US$637,000) to build some 700 wells of various sizes in the past five years. These wells can provide water for over 36,000 people and over 600,000 domestic animals in 29 counties in the region.
The Mother's Cellar project, launched in August 2000, now provides readily accessible potable water for about 1.1 million people in rural China, mostly in western regions.
A total of 270 million yuan has been used to build mother's cellars nationwide in the past five years.
Building cellars to collect rainwater has been a longstanding practice in western areas. A decent water cellar can guarantee enough potable water for an entire family.
Construction of a cellar costs around 1,000 yuan (US$125), but many poor rural families could not afford even that amount until the project was launched by the All-China Women's Federation and the China Women Development Fund.
The primary aim of the project is to alleviate the burden of mothers in poor rural regions experiencing serious water shortages. Now it is benefiting more people in rural areas.
China is striving to build a water-saving society and curb water pollution as parts of the country experience water shortages and a possible water crisis while other regions enjoy soaring economic growth.
According to an annual report by the Ministry of Water Resources, the total volume of water resources have decreased by 12.9 percent since 2003.
(Xinhua News Agency October 15, 2006)