China's water crisis -- from severe shortages to heavy pollution -- is the worst in the world and requires urgent action, a top government official was quoted as saying by state media Tuesday.
China was "facing a water crisis more severe and urgent than any other country in the world," Vice Minister of Construction Qiu Baoxing told a conference in Beijing on developing China's urban water supply.
The construction ministry is responsible for supplying water to residents.
"We've got to solve the problem before it is too late," warned Qiu, according to the China Daily.
China's water supply is too small for its huge population of 1.3 billion people.
Its per capita water availability is about a quarter of the world average and it is expected to get worse, partly due to falling groundwater tables, the report said.
In addition, among China's seven major rivers, five are seriously polluted.
Waste was also a major problem, as more than 20 percent of the water supply in China's cities are leaked out from the water pipe networks, Qian Yi, a professor of environmental engineering from Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, was quoted as saying.
"Shortsightedness in economic development accompanied with environmental destruction is still widespread in China," Qian said.
Vice Minister Qiu said the government has stepped up efforts to save water in the past 20 years and plans to carry out a number of measures to ensure water quality and supply.
The urban wastewater treatment rate will be raised from the current 45.6 percent to 60 percent in five years, with major cities reaching 70 percent, Qiu said.
The Ministry of Construction will also work with the Ministry of Health to put together a new set of standards for drinking water.
Market mechanisms will meanwhile be introduced to the urban water industry, Qiu said, adding that the government welcomes foreign investment to bring in cutting-edge technologies and management methods.
"We must take precautionary measures before the urban water ecosystem collapses," Qiu said.
All rights reserved. © 2004 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.
Subscribe To TerraDaily Express
China's Water Crisis Needs Urgent Solutions
Beijing (SPX) Nov 1, 2005
Vice-minister of construction has said that the country is "facing a water crisis more severe and urgent than any other country in the world."
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|