Some 500 million Chinese farmers have drunk tap water and more than 100 million farmers have access to hygienic toilets, according to sources from the fourth national rural water administration reform meeting.
The meeting, held in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, also announced on Saturday that so far a total of 674,000 waterworks have been built in the country's rural areas and 48.91 million motor-pumped wells have been dug.
In recent years, the Chinese government has increased investment and increased international cooperation to improve hygienic conditions in the countryside.
All sectors of society were also encouraged to sponsor the new construction of waterworks and modern toilets in rural areas.
By the end of 2000, 880 million Chinese rural residents, or 92.38 percent of the country's entire rural population, had benefited from the government's tireless efforts to improve water quality.
In addition, about 106 million rural dwellers had progressed to modern toilets, taking the incidence of such toilets in rural areas to 44.84 percent.
Ma Xiaowei, vice-minister of Public Health, said improving water quality and hygiene standards in rural areas would prevent or curb the occurrence and spread of some infectious diseases and help boost rural economy.
(Xinhua News Agency April 28, 2002)