China has made drinking water accessible for 340 million people in rural
areas since it started tackling the shortage, said Chen Lei, minister of water
Chen made the remarks at an ongoing water and sanitation roundtable.
From 2001 to 2007, the central government allocated 24 billion yuan (3.4
billion U.S. dollars), which, together with the 22.7 billion yuan provided by
the local government and the people, made safe drinking water available to 128
million in rural areas, the minister said.
"We now aim to basically solve the safety of drinking water in rural areas by
The quality of drinking water affected people's health, and it was of vital
importance to provide clean water to the people, he added.
The country aimed to make safe water available for another 160 million rural
residents from 2006 to 2010. Meanwhile, the government planned to strengthen
protection of drinking water safety in 205 cities and 350 counties during this
period, Chen said.
China currently has about 200 million rural people who do not have access to
safe drinking water.