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UPDATED: 13:09, October 11, 2004
China solves drinking water for 20 million rural population in less than one year
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From September 2003 to May 2004, China solved the problem of and improved conditions for drinking water for 20 million rural people to fulfill this year the task of easing drinking water shortage for 50.2 million set in the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05) ahead of schedule, said Zhai Haohui, vice director of the Ministry of Water Resources at the national conference on construction of water conservancy works in winter and spring held on October 10.

It is learned that from 2000 to 2003, the state had arranged altogether 8.5 billion yuan funds to ease drinking water difficulty in rural areas, and with funds from local governments and farmers, solved the drinking water problem for more than 50 million rural residents in central and western China. This year the state allocated another 1.3 billion yuan aimed at providing water for 5.6 million people.

A total of 58 billion yuan had been put into infrastructure construction of irrigation and water conservancy nationwide from September 2003 to May 2004, which was used to repair 260,000 damaged water facilities, consolidate 9,870 reservoirs of different scales, newly build 910,000 small water resource facilities such as reservoir, pond dam and well. The fund also served to boost the country's water reserve capability by 1.16 billion cubic meters, increase and improve irrigated lands by 64 million mu (15mu=1 hectare), increase water-saving irrigation area by 18.7 million mu, reduce water-logged area by 12.5 million mu, reform land of medium or low yield by 21.5 million mu and bring 37,000 square kilometers land of soil erosion under control.

By People's Daily Online

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