Plan to get tap water to most poverty-stricken areas

Updated: 2015-10-15 20:47


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The central government will ensure the supply of tap water to 80 percent of the rural population living in poverty-stricken counties by 2020, an official said on Thursday.

Tang Chuanli, head of the reservoir resettlement bureau under the Ministry of Water Resources, said the ministry will intensify efforts to ensure the supply of safe tap water to the poorest communities.

Tang made the remarks ahead of National Poverty Relief Day which falls annually on Oct 17. The central government said on Monday that it aims to lift all 70 million people living below the poverty line to safety within the next six years.

The ministry has already devoted 48.1 billion yuan to 832 projects that supply tap water to the rural population during the period of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15). The project has already supplied tap water to more than 100 million rural people together with 15.2 million school students and teachers in rural areas.

"As part of the national poverty relief effort, we will continue to prioritize the construction of water resources infrastructure in poverty stricken areas for the next five year plan," he said.

Ni Wenjin, deputy director of the ministry's department of irrigation, drainage and rural water supply, said some rural water supply projects are faced with the problem of a limited number of users, which makes maintenance difficult.

"In some areas, water fees collected from rural households cannot even cover the cost of maintaining the projects," he said.

Ni said the authority will explore price scheme reform enabling the government to provide more subsidies to such projects.

"For projects that cannot ensure the quality of tap water we will equip them with water purification and sterilization facilities," he added.