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Safe drinking water
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It is no exaggeration to liken the drinking water supply in cities to people's lifeline.

In recent years, along with population growth, accelerated industrialization, and urbanization, more and more Chinese cities are facing a severe challenge to provide clean drinking water to their residents.

Our memories are still fresh of the blue-green algae outbreaks that occurred earlier this year in several lakes that affected the water supply to millions of residents.

Hence, it is good to learn that the country has initially set up a national network to ensure drinking water safety in urban areas.

Officials from five ministries involved in the work assured netizens participating an online discussion yesterday that 90 percent of the drinking water that flows from the water plants in 661 Chinese cities are up to standard.

Nevertheless, urban administrators should remain vigilant and regard drinking water safety as a top priority as any neglect of duty could affect the quality of urban life, trigger social panic and even threaten social stability.

At present, polluted water sources, out-dated facilities and poor water quality monitoring are the three major problems blocking our way to ensuring the quality of every drop of tap water.

While the national situation of water pollution has remained serious, the pollution of water sources could be even more worrisome.

Official statistics show ground water in more than half of Chinese cities is polluted, and the ecological systems of major rivers have been damaged.

Environment protection departments should redouble their efforts to reduce water pollution cases and protect water sources so as to ensure safe drinking water supply in cities from its very source.

To bring their supply of drinking water up to the new national standard adopted in July, urban administrators must work to renovate outdated water supply facilities and quicken steps in setting up an efficient water quality monitoring system.

A sound monitoring system would help detect any abnormal changes in drinking water supply, and trigger an early response before a crisis sets in.

(China Daily November 21, 2007)

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