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Water Issues Vital for Northwestern China: Wen
Experts' research and suggestions on the distribution of water resources are vital for the sustainable development of northwestern China and should be given more support, Vice-Premier Wen Jiabao said Monday.

Wen spoke after listening to a report from the Chinese Academy of Engineering on strategic research into water distribution, environmental protection and sustainable development in northwestern China.

Cooperation between government departments on some strategic issues is an effective way to make progress on scientific decision-making, said Wen.

The Chinese Academy of Engineering organized one year of field research by more than 300 scientists and experts from various institutes. The academy then drew up a comprehensive report on water distribution, environmental protection and sustainable development in northwestern China.

The report said local governments should implement a policy of promoting a harmonious relationship between human beings and nature, restructure industrial distribution and economic growth, and curb the excessive expansion of local population.

Experts pointed out that, in order to realize the sustainable economic and social development of China's northwestern regions, the proper distribution of water resources, environmental protection and water-saving industries should be encouraged.

Wen said water shortages are one of the main obstacles restraining the development of Northwest China. He reiterated that environmental protection and the fostering of a harmonious relationship with nature should be given priority in the course of the country's western development.

(China Daily January 21, 2003)

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