People in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which has the largest Muslim population in the country, have successfully sunk a fresh water well in an area formerly thought to have no water.
At a ceremony held Sunday to mark the opening of the well at Tanshan Township in Guyuan City in Ningxia, Hai Zhengming, an 84-year-old man of Hui nationality, said, "I will never forget today and will always remind my descendants what the government has done for us."
The well is part of China's drive to search for water resources in the arid western areas. The project, which was launched in 2001, has cost 20 million yuan (US$2.4 million).
Gratifying results have been achieved in the past year. A total of 23 wells have been drilled in Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia, which provide clean drinking water for 100,000 people.
Yan Liehong, director of the Department of Land and Resources of Ningxia, said, "A well not only helps solve the problem of water shortages for residents, but also opens up a new way of searching for water in areas of scarcity."
The people in Tanshan, a township built on Jurassic rock in a mountainous area in southern Ningxia, used to have to drink bitter water.
The regional geological prospecting team began to drill the well in October 2001, but failed. However, by applying remote-sensing and other vital advanced technology, it succeeded on Dec. 9 this year in drilling a 200-meter-deep well, which produces 250 cubic meters of water daily. Tests prove its quality is similar to that of water used by urban dwellers.
(Xinhua News Agency December 30, 2002)