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Current Location: Homepage > Main Subjects> Safe Drinking Water
  Safe drinking water is crucial for people and directly linked to the livelihood of human beings. Providing safe drinking water is the first priority task of Ministry of Water Resources.  
Water coming
  During the “11th Five-Year Plan” period, the Central Government is planed to invest 32 billion Yuan for safe drinking projects, which is three times as much of the “10th Five-Year Plan” period. But implementing the Safe Drinking Water Program should not rely solely on the financial resources from the Central Government, it is important to establish a stable investment growth mechanism.

Firstly, investment from local government shall be in position in time and in adequate amount and greater than 30% of the total investment. Local governments should not aggravate financial burden of farmers by asking for more investment from them.

Secondly, enthusiasm of beneficiary farmers in putting financial and labor input should be mobilized and protected.

Thirdly, shortage of investment and financing sources should be resolved through market mechanism.

A multi-channel investment Mechanism with main input from the government together with input from beneficiary farmers as labor and work provider and supported by the whole society has been gradually formed for safe drinking water project construction. The policy of “who invests, who benefits” is encouraged.
Water shortage
  According to the 11th Five-Year Plan for the National Safe Drinking Water Program for Rural Areas approved by the State Council, it is planned to enable 160 million rural residents to access safe drinking water during the 11th Five-Year Plan period, and provide safe drinking water to all rural residents before the year of 2015.  
  Main target  
  During the 11th Five-Year Plan period, high priority is placed on providing safe drinking water to those areas using high fluorine and high arsenic water, brackish and polluted water, and where suffers from Water born diseases and other problems such as water shortage.  
  In 2006, the Central Government allocated fund to subsidize the central and western regions of China. The drinking water problem of 28.97 million of rural population was settled.

In 2007, the Central Government allocated another 6.4 billion Yuan to safe drinking water project. Another 31.5 million of rural population shall be able to access safe drinking water with the investment.
  Key Measures
  Participation of beneficiaries of Safe Drinking Water Project is crucial. Voice of water users should be heard before project construction. During project construction, representatives selected by beneficiary farmers will conduct monitoring and supervision.

Water User Association shall be set up for the operation and management small-scale water utilities. Centralized water supply utilities shall be managed by project management committee composed by professional companies, stakeholders and Water User Associations.

Consideration shall be given to willingness of water users and their capacity to pay water charges. Meanwhile cost recovery and reasonable benefit for water suppliers should also be considered. Different water tariffs should be adopted for different usage.
Fetching water
  In order to protect drinking water sources from pollution, effective coordination of governmental departments of health care and environment are needed.

Pollution discharge is not allowed in the protected water source areas. Utilization of chemical fertilizers and pesticides is strictly controlled and forbidden in the area of drinking water sources.

If water is polluted due to human factors, polluter pays principle shall be adopted by asking “person who causes damages be responsible for recovery and cleaning”. Moreover, water quality monitoring needs to be highlighted.
  Facts and Figures
  Unsafe drinking water is defined as:

· Water quality does not conform to the standard ;
· Volume of water available to each individual is below 20 liters/day;
· Time for fetching water back and forth by human power exceeds 20 minutes;
· Ratio of guaranteed water supply is below 90%.

In 2005, about 300 million people in China were unable to access to safe drinking water.

Drinking water supplied to over 63 million people in China contains fluorine that exceeds the National Health Standards for domestic use.

About 38 million people are drinking brackish water.

Drinking water is unsafe for 11 million people living in the region affected by water borne diseases.

Drinking water for roughly 190 million rural populations contains harmful substance that exceeds health standards.