Big input on water conservation

Updated: 2012-01-30 19:42


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BEIJING - China invested 345.2 billion yuan ($54.75 billion) in water conservation projects last year, a senior official said Monday.

The central government invested 114.1 billion yuan in water conservation projects, up 71.2 percent from a year earlier, while local governments provided a record high of 231.1 billion yuan, according to Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei.

The investments effectively helped provide 20.55 million people in drought-hit regions with access to drinking water and ensured safe drinking water for 63.98 million rural residents, Chen said.

Part of the investments also went toward strengthening reservoirs, farmland irrigation and water conservation infrastructure, he said.

He said the ministry will step up building infrastructure in rural areas in order to ensure safe drinking water for 60 million residents and 8 million teachers and students in 2012.

The ministry has also pledged to put 50,000 square meters of land under erosion control in 2012.

China has attached great importance to improving its underdeveloped water conservation system, and has pledged to invest 400 billion yuan in water conservation projects annually over the next 10 years.