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North China province battles water shortage
( 2002-03-16 15:29 ) (8 )

North China's Shanxi Province has solved the problem of shortage of potable water for 1.82 million of its rural inhabitants over the past two years.

It still plans to enable an additional 1.9 million people in the countryside to drink clear water this year, government officials said.

Providing people in rural areas with water for living and daily use is the top priority of the Shanxi provincial government.

The province has spent 620 million yuan (74.7 million US dollars) on 6,100 water supply projects in rural areas over the past couple of years.

North China has long been a populous area, and an industrial and agricultural base. As industrial and agricultural production develops and the population increases, the per capita water resources in the region keep falling.

Statistics indicate that the river-to-land ratio in north China is no more than 0.35 percent, down drastically from five percent half a century ago. Over 5,000 hectares of arable fields in the Beijing area have been deserted because of lack of water, and about 2.53 million hectares of farmland in Henan and Hebei provinces are suffering from drought.

Meanwhile, the central government is pushing ahead with an ambitious south-to-north water diversion project to balance the nation's water supply.

The project aims to divert water from the Yangtze River valley to the reaches of the Yellow, Huaihe and Haihe rivers so as to ensure the water supply for farming, industry and everyday life there. 



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