State Council orders underground water safety

Updated: 2011-08-24 19:51


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BEIJING - The State Council, or China's Cabinet, on Wednesday adopted a national plan aimed at protecting the safety of underground water resources and avoiding pollution.

The plan was discussed and passed at an executive meeting of the State Council, which was presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.

The State Council ordered local governments to list pollution prevention and underground water control in their working agendas and to set up an underground water environmental supervision system by 2015.

An underground water pollution and prevention mechanism must also be established by 2020 to monitor polluters, improve water quality and guarantee the safety of underground water in key regions.

According to the State Council, 18 percent of China's water supply comes from underground water.

In the northern regions in particular, 65 percent of the water supply for residential use, half of the water supply for industrial use and 33 percent of the water supply for agricultural irrigation depends on underground water.

Of 657 cities across the country, more than 400 are using underground water as a major source of drinking water.

Falling water levels amid over-exploitation as well as tainting by sewage seepage, household garbage, industrial waste, fertilizers and pesticides have worsened the quality of underground water and caused pollution, according to the State Council.