Chinese govt approves anti-drought plan

Updated: 2011-11-02 21:12


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BEIJING - The State Council, or China's Cabinet, on Wednesday approved a national anti-drought plan that aims to improve the country's drought-fighting capabilities.

The plan outlines a slew of tasks to be accomplished over the next ten years, including the construction of facilities that will provide water for drinking and irrigation in drought-hit regions.

The plan was approved at an executive meeting of the State Council, which was chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao.

A statement released after the meeting said that droughts have been occurring more frequently in China due to the impact of climate change and rising water demands. It said that more than 60 percent of the nation's counties are vulnerable to droughts, while 110 out of 658 cities have suffered from water shortages.

According to the plan, the government will seek to "significantly improve" access to drinking water in drought-hit counties by 2015; by 2020, safe supplies of drinking and irrigation water will be largely satisfied.

The government will also construct more water reserve projects in rural areas, towns and cities, as well as establish a nationwide drought-monitoring network that will facilitate decision-making in case of future droughts.

Officials attending the meeting also agreed that the country should learn from the experiences and advanced techniques of other countries in drought-fighting and disaster relief.

The meeting also stressed the importance of water saving. The statement said that the country will promote more advanced irrigation technology and equipment to allow farmers to save more water. The government may resort to price controls in order to regulate projects that consume large amounts of water, according to the statement.