Groundwater in about 55 percent of the cities monitored across China is not safe to drink, according to a national annual report on the situation of the country's land and resources in 2011.
Wang Yaya drinks from a water tap in Guiyang, Guizhou province. [China Daily]
The outlook is not optimistic, according to the report, which was released by the Ministry of Land and Resources on Thursday. Monitoring conducted in 2011 found groundwater quality declined in parts of Gansu, Qinghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hubei and Yunnan provinces.
About 200 key cities across the country were monitored in the report, which covered more than 4,700 testing sites.
The problem of groundwater pollution is spreading from cities to the countryside, according to a national pollution control plan aimed at improving water quality over the next decade.
More than 242 million rural residents and 33 million rural teachers and students have no sustainable access to safe drinking water, said Chen Lei, minister of water resources, at a bimonthly session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee in April.
Chen promised that all will have access to safe drinking water by 2015. In 2011, China witnessed nearly 15,700 geological disasters that left 245 dead, 32 missing and 138 injured, according to the report.
The economic losses from these events totaled 4 billion yuan ($635 million), about 37 percent less than the amount in 2010. Geological disasters mainly occurred in the central and western parts of the country and parts of the southern area, according to the report.
It also mentioned that the country's oil dependence rate reached about 57 percent last year, 2 percentage points higher than in 2010, while the ore dependency rate increased from nearly 54 percent in 2010 to more than 56 percent in 2011. The total land transfer fees collected in 2011 hit 3.15 trillion yuan, growing 15 percent compared to 2010, according to the report.