Only 63 percent of China's urban areas enjoy underground water that is potable without treatment.
The situation was revealed in an underground water appraisal report issued by the Ministry of Land and Resources Thursday.
The report said illnesses attributable to un-hygienic water exist to varying degrees in all provinces of the country. At present, more than 70 million people are still drinking sub-standard underground water.
Jiang Jianjun, director of the environmental protection department of the ministry, said pollution of underground water is spreading to more areas, even the rural areas.
He called on improving ways in tapping underground water and seeking sustainable exploitation of underground water resources inline with China's sustainable economic and social development strategy.
(Xinhua News Agency October 30, 2003)