China's National Audit Office is currently investigating water conservancy department, sanitation department and other departments, as well as nearly 100 counties in 19 provinces, in order to ascertain the overall situation of drinking water safety in these areas up to the end of 2008 and resolve the difficulties of insufficient and unsafe drinking water facing 200 million farmers as quickly as possible.
From the current investigation, initial findings indicate that there are no designated funds in place in a number of areas, the progress of new investment projects is relatively slow, there is a low coverage rate in water quality monitoring, and the construction quality of certain projects is poor.
During the past 30 years of reform and opening-up, China has accumulatively solved the drinking water problems of 300 million rural residents. However by the end of 2008, one third of China's rural towns still lacked standard water supply facilities and hence 200 million rural people were still facing problems of insufficient and unsafe drinking water. In some places, water containing high quantities of fluoride and arsenic, and brackish water are still heavily affecting the health of rural people, and problems such as difficulty in procuring water and insufficient water supplies still remain.
According to information provided by the Ministry of Water Resources, between 2006 and 2008 central government already allocated a total of 23.8 billion yuan, while local supporting funds raised 19.5 billion yuan to solve the problem of drinking water safety for 108.66 million people.
At the end of 2008, China's central government added a new investment of 100 billion yuan to expand domestic demand, of which 5 billion is to be spent on drinking water safety projects in rural areas, which could solve the drinking water safety problem for 15.71 million rural people. In 2009, China will solve the drinking water safety problem for over 60 million people in rural areas. It is thus expected that China's original goal to essentially solve the drinking water safety problem in rural areas by 2015 will be achieved ahead of schedule.
By People's Daily Online