State Council Information Office held a briefing on consolidation of drinking water safety Program in rural areas
2019-07-15 Author : MWR Source : MWR
On June 27, 2019, a press briefing was held by the State Council Information Office (SCIO) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), during which Mr. Tian Xuebin, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Water Resources, Mr. Chen Mingzhong, Director General of Rural Water Resources and Hydropower Department, and Mr. Yang Xinyu, Director General of Finance Department, made introductions on the situation of safe drinking water supply in rural areas and answered the questions from the media.
  Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, great importance has been attached to drinking water supply projects, with continuous increase of investment. By the end of 2018, more than 11 million water supply projects have been completed, serving 940 million of rural population. The penetration rate of tap water supply in rural areas has reached 81%, which enabled the fulfillment of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule. Thanks to these projects, the living conditions, health level and life quality of rural population have been greatly enhanced.
  Rural water supply projects have benefited millions of people in rural areas. In order to monitor the effectiveness of rural water supply program and identify the emerging issues along with social and economic development, Ministry of Water Resources organized more than 1,000 people to conduct unannounced investigations for nine months starting from last year. Follow up investment has been made to consolidate drinking water supply in less-developed rural areas. By the end of May this year, new safe drinking water project is available for 283,000 rural people and quality of water supply facilities has been upgraded to serve more than 13 million rural population.
  Recently, the State Council held a special meeting for consolidating safe drinking water supply in rural areas. Ministry of Water Resources shall work closely with other governmental departments and focus on the following areas:
  First, emphasis has been placed on safeguarding water supply to 60 million rural population. Second, emphasis has been placed on the establishment of long-term operation and maintenance mechanism. Third, emphasis has been placed on the long-term planning, in particular the14th Five-Year Plan for rural water development.
  In answering the question from China Daily of what measures will be taken by the Ministry of Water Resources to strengthen the supervision and improve service, Mr. Chen Mingzhong noted that, the Ministry of Water Resources has intensified supervision over accountabilities, quality of project construction, operation and maintenance of water supply facilities, as well as water supply services.
  Four mitigation measures need to be taken, including unannounced investigation and inspection, creation of a coordinating network by seven river basin authorities with 832 poverty-stricken counties, so as to provide technical guidance and solutions for problem solving; establishment of a reporting and supervision mechanism by means of making telephone numbers and emails open to the public; and listing key problems and issues for correction.
  Lastly, Mr. Yang Xinyu briefed on four mechanisms for sustainability and sound operation of water supply utilities, when the reporter from Economic Daily asked a question about how to improve fund raising for daily operation and maintenance of water facilities. The measures include establishment of an effective water pricing and charging mechanism, a financial subsidy mechanism by both central and local governments, reform of property right system by maximizing role of market and optimize management models according to local conditions.
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