BEIJING, Oct. 6-- Major problems related to China's water resources are expected to be solved step by step in the next five years to improve the nation's water supply, flood-control, food security and ecosystem rehabilitation.
Water authorities have set a target for this sector during the period of the 11th Five-Year Plan(2006-10), Wang Shucheng, minister of water resources said recently.
He was optimistic about the further developments within the water resource sector.
The country faces five water-related challenges today worsening floods, droughts, water shortages, soil erosion, pollution and insufficient rural water infrastructure, he pointed out.
However,"further developments within the sector can back up the nation's efforts to build a well-off society by tackling water issues," he said this week in a speech for an ongoing international congress on irrigation and drainage.
By 2010,"we will reinforce institutional development and optimize water resource allocation throughout China by setting up a system of controlling water consumption with quota management," he said.
Top priority of water supply will be given to the security of drinking water. Ninety-eight per cent urban residents and 60 per cent of rural residents will get access to safe, clean water.
A decade-long water shortage has plagued major cities across North China and East China's Shandong Peninsula, this will be relieved once the first phase of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project is completed.
It is the most ambitious attempt yet by China to transport water from the Yangtze River in the south to the thirsty north.
"By then, we will settle the problem of drinking water security, an issue that has plunged 80 million rural people into chronic poverty in China's remote areas," the minister said.
To improve grain production capacity, water-saving irrigation will be increased on 10 million hectares of land with key large irrigation areas either renovated or upgraded.
He made it clear that China will realize a nil growth in water consumption for irrigation by increasing the efficiency of water used for agriculture.
Farming irrigation still consumes 66 per cent of China's total water supply due to backward irrigation techniques or equipment.
In the south, draining capacity of major grain-growing bases will be further improved to withstand the worst waterlog in three to five years.
Water quality in over 65 per cent of sections of major rivers and lakes serving as key water supply sources will be improved according to State criteria, with at least 95 per cent of headwater sites used for urban water supply to be kept unpolluted.
Furthermore, authorities will rehabilitate rivers with fragile ecosystems through controlling water and soil erosion.
In the following five years, the ministry will further reinforce flood-control systems with the operation of frequently used flood detention basins ensured either to mitigate damages or manage floodwaters to be used as resources.
(Source: China Daily)