China / Society

Drinking water issues seen solved by 2015

By Zheng Jinran ( Updated: 2012-06-27 21:27

Millions of residents living in China's rural areas still don't have access to safe drinking water. However, the issue is expected to be solved by the end of 2015, according to a report released by the State Council.

About 323 million rural residents had no access to safe drinking water in 2004. Meanwhile, about 221 million people managed to solve the problem by the end of 2010, the report said.

In addition to the people still waiting for safe drinking water, more new rural residents have joined the group, such as villagers living in areas where water sources deteriorated or those who moved to a new place without safe drinking water, said Du Ying, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission at an ongoing meeting of the National People's Congress Standing Committee on June 27.

"Though the number has increased in recent years, local governments will make efforts to guarantee that all of these people have safe drinking water during the 12th Five-Year Plan," he said.

Rural residents are usually scattered in large areas, and require a lot of equipment and water infrastructure to guarantee safe drinking water. However, complex geographical environments and less developed economies add an extra layer of difficulty to the projects.

In addition, many rural areas face serious water pollution issues, due to the discharge of industrial effluents.

"The central government has put more focus on improving the drinking water quality in rural areas since 2011," Du said.

However, local governments should be also be responsible for the task and their performance in it will be an important part of their assessment system.

More funds will be allocated to these projects, and preferential policies, such as tax deductions, will be implemented.

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