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China to launch strict water protection measures, fight shortages: minister
2011/01/31

Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei (1st R) speaks at a press conference held by State Council Information Office in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 30, 2011. China would carry out strict water resource management measures to grapple with water shortages, Chen said Sunday after the central authorities Saturday issued its first document of the year. (Xinhua/Gao Xueyu)

BEIJING, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- China will carry out strict water resource management measures to grapple with water shortages, Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei said Sunday.

The measures will focus on three "red lines," or security lines adopted to limit the scale of water exploitation, to improve the efficiency of water usage, and to curb water pollution, Chen said at a press conference after the central authorities Saturday issued its first document of the year.

China will intensify efforts to accelerate the development of the nation's water conservancy and promote the sustainable use of water resources, said the document, known as the No. 1 document, which usually reflects government priorities each year.

The No. 1 document sets targets to improve China's relatively backward water conservancy situation over the next five to 10 years, Chen said.

A core policy of the document is the using of 10 percent of land-transfer fees - about 60 to 80 billion yuan (9.12 to 12.16 billion U.S. dollars) each year - to boost agricultural conservancy construction, Chen said.

China's water consumption should be controlled within 670 billion cubic meters by 2020, the document said.

China's average water resources per capita is merely 28 percent of the global average, or 2,200 cubic meters, said Chen Xiwen, director of the office for the Communist Party of China Central Committee's Leading Group on Rural Work.

The document said China will add its annual input in water conservancy - double the volume in 2010 - in the coming ten years.

China's water conservancy input was 200 billion yuan last year and a double volume will mean 400 billion yuan each year or 4 trillion yuan in coming ten years, Chen said.

China suffers a 40-billion-cubic-meter water shortage annually, with two thirds of cities having trouble accessing water, Chen Lei said.

Water safety problems have been tackled for 210 million rural residents and existing rural water problems will be solved by 2013, with new problems being tackled by the end of the 12th five-year plan period (2011-2015), the minister said.

North China wheat-growing regions, including Shandong, Henan, Hebei, Anhui, Shanxi and Jiangsu provinces, have received little rainfall since October.  

 
Photo taken on Jan. 30, 2011 shows the press conference held by State Council Information Office in Beijing, capital of China. China would carry out strict water resource management measures to grapple with water shortages, Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei said Sunday after the central authorities Saturday issued its first document of the year. (Xinhua/Gao Xueyu)
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