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SCIO press conference on water management and national water security

China.org.cn | September 25, 2023



Rural water supply affects the work and life of hundreds of millions of rural residents. What are the developments in the construction of China's rural water supply projects and management systems? What measures has the MWR taken to boost rural water supplies? Thank you.

Chen Mingzhong:

As you said, rural water supply affects the work and life of hundreds of millions of rural residents. Knowing well that ensuring rural drinking water safety is a key indicator of consolidating our achievements in poverty alleviation and advancing rural revitalization, the MWR has taken a variety of measures to ensure rural drinking water safety at a faster pace. 

First, we have prioritized advancing the integration of urban and rural water supplies and a large-scale construction of centralized water supply. In accordance with the principle of "building large networks, integrating the medium-sized, and reducing the small-sized," we have promoted the interconnection and integration of urban and rural water supply networks, connected, expanded, and integrated networks where possible, and facilitated the realization of unified water sources, networks, quality standards, services, and regulations for urban and rural water supplies in areas with suitable conditions. We have leveraged the roles of the government and market in tandem and raised funds through multiple channels, including local government special bonds, bank loans, and private capital, while increasing government investments. In the first eight months of the year, investments in rural water supply projects among all localities reached 98.88 billion yuan, including 38.33 billion yuan in special local government bonds, 27.35 billion yuan in bank loans, 15.85 billion yuan in private capital, and 17.35 billion yuan in government funds at all levels. A total of 73.65 billion yuan has been used to launch the construction of 15,692 rural water supply projects, with 9,029 having been completed, improving water supplies for 38.25 million rural residents. 

Second, we have further carried out a special campaign to improve the quality of water supplied in rural areas. As we all know, the health standard for drinking water was implemented on April 1 of this year. That is a new standard. In accordance with the new standard, we have improved the implementation plan and worked with ecology, environment, and health departments to accelerate the designation of protection zones or areas for sources of rural drinking water. We have provided water purification and disinfection equipment, regulated the daily inspection of the water quality from water supply units and the patrol of the water quality by regional water quality testing centers, and moved faster to build and improve a system to ensure source-to-tap water quality.

Third, we have enhanced the capacity of small and miscellaneous water supply projects in securing the supply of drinking water. We have promoted the standardized construction and renovation of small water supply projects in accordance with local conditions in places where people have no access to centralized water supply networks to reduce the number of people who get their drinking water from water cellars and tanks in rural areas. We have intensified the comprehensive investigation and dynamic monitoring of rural drinking water conditions and discovered and handled problems in rural water supplies as soon as they emerged to ensure problems are solved in a timely manner. We have spared no effort to maintain drinking water safety in the fight against floods and droughts to ensure the basic drinking water needs of the people. We have worked with the Ministry of Finance to allocate 3 billion yuan in subsidies from the central government to renovate and maintain rural water supply projects, with 4.25 billion yuan allocated from local governments for the renovation and maintenance of rural water supply projects. Over 68,000 rural water supply projects have been renovated and maintained this year, providing services for 146 million people in rural areas.

Fourth, we have sped up advancing the specialized management and maintenance of rural water supply projects. We have actively taken steps to advance the unified management of water supplies within counties or regions. Water supply projects with a daily supply of over 1,000 tons of water to more than 10,000 people, and projects with a daily supply to over 1,000 people have adopted commercialized and specialized management systems. We entrust small projects to specialized companies for unified and improved management. We have enhanced the standardized management of centralized rural water supply projects and advanced the construction of digital twin systems for rural water supply projects. We have improved the mechanism for the setting and charging of water prices to ensure the long-term operation of rural water supply projects. So far, a total of 6.78 million rural water supply projects have been established, serving 870 million people. Tap water coverage in rural areas has reached 88%, and the proportion of rural population covered by urban-rural integration and large-scale water supply projects stands at 57%. Thank you.

Shou Xiaoli:

Due to time constraints, the last question, please.

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