China has solved most of the problems of insufficient drinking water supply in rural areas, said the Ministry of Water Resources on Saturday.
In the past five years, the central government had allocated 18.9 billion yuan (about 2.66 billion U.S. dollars), which, together with the 18.2 billion yuan provided by local government and the people, had made safe drinking water available to 97.48 million people in rural areas, said Vice Minister Hu Siyi.
"We now aim to basically solve the safety of drinking water in rural areas by 2015," said Minister Chen Lei on Saturday, the World Water Day.
The quality of drinking water affects people's health, and it is of vital importance to provide clean water to the people, said Hu.
China aims to make safe water available for another 160 million rural residents from 2006 to 2010, most of whom lived where water was polluted or had high fluoride or high arsenic content, or where human blood fluke lived, said Hu.
China still has about 200 million rural people who do not have access to safe drinking water.
A total of 431.8 billion yuan from the central government was spent on agriculture, rural areas, and farmers in 2007, a year-on-year increase of 80.1 billion yuan. This includes 64.6 billion yuan from the central government allocations for development projects, accounting for 48 percent of the total investment funds for the year.
(Xinhua News Agency March 24, 2008)