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Vice Premier Urges Northern Cities to Save Water
Chinese Vice-Premier Li Lanqing has urged northern Chinese cities troubled by water shortages to save water and reduce water pollution, and build water-efficient communities for sustainable social and economic development.

The vice-premier made the remarks during a tour of Tianjin, a port city in northern China.

Li said China's per capita water resources were only a quarter of the world's average, while the per capita water resources in north China amounted to one seventh due to severe droughts in the past.

The plan to divert water from the Yangtze River, the country's largest, to north China would not help in the short term because the project would take a long time to complete, he said.

Water had to be diverted from the Yellow River to Tianjin to alleviate its acute shortage, but the amount of water diverted was very limited, said Li.

East China's Shandong Province had reported direct losses totaling about 1.2 billion US dollars due to widespread drought.

Li said China should adopt a policy of developing new water resources while paying close attention to water-saving.

He called for efforts to learn from other countries in developing water-saving and recycling facilities suitable for China.

During his stay in Tianjin, the vice-premier was briefed by Tianjin municipal government officials on the city's progress in becoming a water-efficient community.

He also toured a local desalination plant and attended a national conference on expanding senior middle school education throughout China.

(People's Daily October 15, 2002)

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