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Rural residents get access to safe water

Updated: Sep 10,2021 06:51    Xinhua

In the past five years, China has managed to ensure safe drinking water for its rural residents, Water Resources Minister Li Guoying said on Sept 9.

"The difficulties in getting drinking water that have plagued many rural poor for generations have been solved once and for all," he told a news conference organized by the State Council Information Office.

He said that during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) period, China managed to address problems that jeopardized the safety of drinking water for 17.1 million rural residents who were previously registered as poverty-stricken.

The past five years also saw improved water supplies to 270 million rural residents, Li said, adding almost 11 million people no longer have to consume water that has high levels of fluorine or is brackish.

Li said the proportion of rural residents with access to tap water reached 83 percent last year, up from 76 percent in 2015.

Chen Mingzhong, director of the ministry's department of rural water resources and hydropower, said drinking water safety played an important role in poverty alleviation, relating the story of Yang Xiaoping as an example.

For generations, Yang's family lived in a mountainous area in Lintan county, Gansu province. Due to the shortage of water in the area, his family had to use six big vats to collect rainwater for daily use, he said.

After being relocated to an area with access to tap water, Yang shattered all six vats as he no longer had any use for them. He even started an agritourism business in his new home, Chen said.

"There are many such examples in rural areas across the country," he said, while adding that there are still some problems that need to be addressed in rural water supply.

The supply of water in some areas remains unstable because they rely on mountain springs as sources. When droughts occur, there may be no water to supply, he said.

About 10 percent of rural water supply facilities were built before 2005 and the network needs urgent renovation, he added.

Chen said the ministry will improve rural water supply because more people are demanding such services as they see their lives improve.

Aside from enhancing screening and monitoring to solve any problems that may emerge, the ministry will promote the construction of urban and rural water supply systems, he said.

To ramp up rural water supply management, more information technologies will be applied to make the water supply system more intelligent, Chen added.

He said the ministry will endeavor to lift the proportion of rural residents with access to tap water to 88 percent by 2025.