China's legislature moves to solve water issues for drought-plagued autonomous region

08:42, September 15, 2010      

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China's top legislature has urged government departments to solve water shortage issues for some drought-plagued areas in Ningxia Hui autonomous region, and progress has reportedly been made.

The central and southern areas of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northwestern China receives only 250 mm of annual precipitation. Those areas suffer droughts nine out of ten years.

Some deputies of the National People's Congress (NPC), or China's lawmakers, who are working and living in Ningxia, made a series of suggestions on how to solve the water shortage issues in those areas in 2005 following an investigation and field studies.

Their suggestions include ensuring drinking water security, promoting water-saving agriculture and improving ecological protection

The NPC Standing Committee, or China's top legislature, paid great attention to those suggestions and urged government departments, such as the Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Agriculture and National Development and Reform Commission, to implement the suggestions.

There are good examples of suggestions. In 2005, some lawmakers suggested governments launch more water-saving irrigation programs in Ningxia. To adopt the suggestion, the Ministry of Water Resources earmarked special funds to transform the local irrigation facilities to conserve more water.

In 2009, lawmakers suggested establishing potato planting bases in Ningxia. The Ministry of Agriculture created a special team and allocated funds to facilitate the program.

Progress has been made. Since 2007, 28 water-saving irrigation programs have been launched, benefiting 210,000 local residents. This year, the local potato output is expected to reach five million tonnes, with some farmers receiving 800 yuan of net income merely through planting potatoes.

From Sept. 10 to 14, NPC Standing Committee Chairman Wu Bangguo inspected the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. He visited farmers' families and made field studies on the implementation progress of lawmakers' suggestions on water issues.

He stressed that more efforts shall be made to solve local water shortage issues, so as to improve the living standards of local residents.



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