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80 Million Rural Residents to Enjoy Safe Water in Five Years

China is launching a water supply project to ensure safe drinking water for the 80 million rural population who are suffering from serious shortage of water supply and disqualified drinking water, according to the Ministry of Water Resources.

China will step up construction of water supply projects at the country's towns and villages and further popularize the utilization of tap water in the rural areas between 2006 and 2010, said Pang Jinwu, deputy director of the ministry's planning department.

To ensure safe drinking water for the rural people, the country will give priority to the treatment of disqualified water supply in the rural areas which are afflicted with high content of fluorine, arsenic and various kinds of pollutants, official said.

And effective measures will be taken to control the spread of water-borne schistosomiasis, he added.

According to the official, China invested 20 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion) between 2001 and 2005 in efforts to provide clean drinking water for 60 million people in rural areas.

At present, more than 300 million people in rural areas still have no access to qualified drinking water, the official said, adding the aim of providing safe drinking water supply for rural people will be achieved by 2020.

(Xinhua News Agency November 29, 2005)

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