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China Invests 953 Mln Yuan for Safe Drinking Water in Tibet

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The Ministry of Water Resources spent 953 million yuan (US$139.3 billion), from 2000 to September 2008, to provide safe drinking water for 1.44 million farmers and herdsmen in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

The ministry said under the safe drinking water program, nearly 10,000 drinking water facilities were built in 73 cities and counties in the autonomous region. Approximately 8.86 million livestock had also benefited from the program, the ministry added.

According to Wang Xiaodong, head of the rural water resources department under the ministry, the program will cover all rural people in Tibet by 2010.

Wang said penetration rate of running water supplies has been raised to 61 percent in Tibetan rural areas, up from 12 percent in2000.

Surveys of Lhasa, Xigaze and Qamdo found that thanks to the safe drinking water program, rural residents in these areas had their per-capita, annual medical spending reduced 280 yuan on average.

Another survey of Shannan prefecture showed that under the program, 86 percent of rural households there had increased livestock they raised.

(Xinhua News Agency January 27, 2009)