Over 4 million more rural people in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province will have access to safe drinking water in the next five years, the provincial department of water resources promised on Monday.
The province aims to increase the coverage of tap water to 60 percent in rural areas and provide safe drinking water for 40 percent of its rural population, said Wang Tie, vice director of the department.
Tap water coverage in rural areas has reached 28 percent thanks to the province's efforts in the past five years.
"During the next five years, local governments in the province will evaluate quantity, quality and reliability of water resources and guarantee safe drinking water," Wang said.
At present, more than 300 million people in rural areas across China still have no access to safe drinking water.
China has spent 20 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion) over the last five years in various efforts to provide clean drinking water to some 60 million rural people.
(Xinhua News Agency February 7, 2006)