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China continues to improve water supply in the west

By Liang Chao (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2009-11-25 13:36

Chinese water authorities say they will continue to improve water supply and irrigation infrastructures in the country's underdeveloped west regions for the benefit of millions of residents.

Heavy investment has been poured into water infrastructures for the backup of West China's economic take-off since the country launched the "Go West" project nine years ago, said Jiao Yong, vice-minister of water resources.

Construction of the infrastructures will be continued in the years ahead with more key projects to be launched by the State in the western areas of China, including 12 provinces and autonomous regions, for providing safe drinking water for rural people and promoting water-efficient farming.

Speaking on Tuesday at a briefing for media, Jiao said major targets for China's Go West Strategy include safe drinking water being available for the up to 52.80 million rural residents who currently have no access to water security by 2013,.

In Northwest China, where water resources are especially scarce, popularizing efficient irrigation systems in its main irrigation zones, on which the residents depend for their livelihood, would be a top priority for state investment.

"By adopting water conservation technologies there, we hope, the water for crops would be used to its full effect instead of being wasted on the way," he said.

In the southwest provinces where torrential rivers mostly run through high mountains and deep canyons, authorities would continue building reservoirs with local water resources fully utilized to help sustain the economy, and mitigate the damage caused by floods and other water-related natural disasters.

While concentrating their attention on repairing existing reservoirs operating with potential problems, the state budgeted programs would continue for water and soil conservation upstream of large rivers and around their riverheads for rehabilitating fragile local eco-systems.