China / Society

China spends 430b yuan on water conservation

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-12-28 19:48

HEFEI - China spent 430.3 billion yuan ($68.3 billion) on improving water utilities in 2012, a record total, an official said Friday.

Investment in water conservation amounted to 775.5 billion yuan in 2011 and 2012, surpassing the amount invested during the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-2010), Chen Lei, minister of water resources, said at a work meeting in Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui province.

"In 2012, China reinforced 5,400 small-sized reservoirs and harnessed critical stretches of 2,209 mid- and small-sized rivers, bringing the death toll from floods down by 50 percent," Chen said.

He called for more investment in water conservation projects while urging intensified efforts to improve water quality and build irrigated farms.

The government aims to harness more than 5,000 rivers by 2015 and speed up the construction of early warning systems for floods and storm tides, according to a central government statement issued in 2011.

The government plans to double its average annual spending on water conservation during the 2011-2020 period from its 200-billion-yuan investment in 2010.

Chen said that during the past two years, the central government has invested 48.2 billion yuan to improve the availability of safe drinking water for 148 million rural residents, teachers and students.

The country will continue to work to ensure safe drinking water, renovate key irrigation facilities and promote water conservation in 2013, according to Chen.

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