China to raise water quality standards

Updated: 2007-06-30 08:48

A boy pulls a boat in the algae-filled Chaohu Lake in Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui province, June 4, 2007. [Reuters]

China said it would raise drinking water standards and establish a national inspection network to monitor quality, in the wake of algae outbreaks that cut off water supplies to millions of people.

Some 71 new standards, including limits on microbe content, organic matter and disinfectants, would come into effect from July 1, health officials said at a news conference on Friday.

"From that time, people in urban and rural areas will have the same water hygiene standards," said Zhang Chengyu, vice secretary of the Regulation Department of Ministry of Health.

Zhang said China would soon establish a national network to inspect water quality, and had already rolled out a pilot monitoring scheme in seven provinces from May this year.

In a country where millions of people lack regular access to safe drinking water due to drought and pollution, Beijing has grappled with a string of algae outbreaks that have endangered water supplies in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, a massive algae outbreak in Lake Taihu, the country's third largest, made tap water undrinkable for 2.3 million residents of Wuxi, a city in the eastern province of Jiangsu.

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