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Central China province seeking to boost water conservancy investment


09:04, November 04, 2011

CHANGSHA, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Zhang Mangui, a villager from central China's Hunan province, looked at his recently harvested wheat and smiled with satisfaction.

"The crops have grown especially well this year, thanks to the restoration of the river bank, which has prevented floods and ensured a sufficient supply of irrigation water," Zhang said.

The local government of Yangcundian, a village near the city of Yongzhou, cleaned and deepened a nearby channel and reinforced the banks of a 750-meter stretch of river this year.

The provincial government of Hunan has been endeavoring to increase funding for water projects since the beginning of this year.

In response to a document issued by China's central government in January that listed water conservancy as a priority task, Hunan vowed that it would increase its investment in the construction of water conservancy projects to 300 billion yuan (about 47 billion U.S. dollars) within 10 years.

The province, which has an abundance of water resources, is suffering from a lack of efficient water conservancy facilities, and it has been wracked by floods and droughts that have intensified in recent years.

"It will not be easy to meet the investment target," said Liu Limin, official of the provincial water resources bureau. " We have to reform our water convervancy investment and financing mechanism to ensure that there will be enough funding."

According to a document issued by the provincial government in January, the province will adopt a series of policies to draw investment from financial institutions and social organizations in order to fund its water conservation efforts.

The provincial government has vowed to double the amount it spends on water conservancy in 10 years, with up to 10 percent of local land transaction fees going toward water projects.

The government will also create preferential policies to facilitate the public listing of water conservancy enterprises and make bank loans and taxes more favorable for those who wish to invest in water conservancy projects.

Hopefully, the province's efforts to boost investment in water conservancy will serve as an example for other provinces and regions that are facing similar problems, said Zhou Qiang, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Hunan provincial committee.

China has been hit by increasingly intense floods and droughts, partially because of its underdeveloped water conservancy facilities, according to Chen Lei, the minister of water resources.

Compared with infrastructure like highways and railways, the construction of water conservancy facilities has lagged behind over the past decade.

In July, at a water conservation work conference held by the Central Committee of the CPC, President Hu Jintao pledged to accelerate the development of water conservation facilities not only to guarantee grain safety, but also to restructure the country's economy.

From 2011 to 2020, China's investment in water conservancy projects is expected to reach 4 trillion yuan, almost four times the amount spent over the past 10 years.

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