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180,000 More Tibetans Have Access to Clean Drinking Water
Thanks to new drinking water projects, 188,000 farmers and herdsmen in the Tibet Autonomous Region, southwest China, have had access to clean drinking water this year.

According to statistics from the Office of Drinking Water Projects for Human and Livestock in the region, a total of 1,174 small drinking water projects were constructed in Tibet from May and October this year. These projects supply drinking water to 188,000 farmers and herdsmen, and 2.2 million head of domestic animals in 918 villages.

When seeing clear water gushing from the water pipe, residents of No. 1 Village in Damquka Town of Damxung County near Lhasa, theregional capital, seethed with excitement.

Dressed in festive attire, the villagers held up a streamer with the words "Long Live the Communist Party of China", dancing and singing around the water pipe.

"We villagers had access to electricity last year, and we have clean drinking water this year. I've never dreamed of seeing the two major events taking place in my village," said Zhabsang, 65, who has been the secretary of the Party branch in the No. 1 Village for more than 30 years.

Zhabsang attributed the changes to the policy of the Communist Party of China and the support of the central government.

He said that he was confident in leading his villagers to a happier life in the future.

Tibet enjoys a vast expanse of land and rich water resources. But arid and semi-arid areas make up 70 percent of the region's total land space due to uneven distribution of precipitation, leading to severe water shortages for people and livestock.

By the end of 2000, there were still 550,000 people and five million head of domestic animals facing water shortages, according to an official from the Office of Drinking Water Projects for Humans and Livestock in Tibet.

The central government and local governments at various levels in Tibet have attached great importance to settling the issue of water shortages in the region. To date, the central government has invested 100 million yuan (US$12 million) in building water projects in Tibet.

As a result, more than 500,000 people and over 5.7 million head of livestock have had access to clean drinking water over the past 40 years.

The regional water conservancy bureau has worked out a plan to invest another 480 million yuan (58 million US dollars) in building more than 3,000 drinking water projects in the 2001-2005 period.

The plan aims to solve water shortages in farming and pasture areas in Tibet within three years.

(Xinhua News Agency December 27, 2002)

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