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US$4.3b invested to provide 'safe' water
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The Chinese government spent approximately 29.5 billion yuan (4.3 billion U.S. dollars) in 2008 to fortify dangerous reservoirs, provide rural residents with clean drinking water and to upgrade irrigating facilities.

Such expenditures accounted for 45 percent of the annual government investment in all sorts of water resources projects, said Water Resources Minister Chen Lei. The central government's investment in all water resources projects totaled 65.54 billion yuan in 2008.

Of the total, 13 billion yuan was used to fortify 2,505 dangerous reservoirs and 5.9 billion yuan to build supporting projects for large irrigation systems and to upgrade others into water-efficiency ones.

By the end of 2000, 379 million rural dwellers nationwide have difficulties in getting safe drinking water.

Chen Lei said China began providing safe drinking water for an additional 48.24 million rural people last year. This year, another 60 million rural residents would get access to clean water.

Between 2000 and 2008, the water resources ministry said, China spent 61.8 billion yuan (9.04 billion U.S. dollars) to provide 160 million rural people with clean water.

According to the ministry's plan, by the end of 2010, 6,240 dangerous reservoirs nationwide will be fortified, and 400 rural counties will be provided with electricity generated by local hydro power stations.

(Xinhua News Agency January 28, 2009)

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