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17,000 Herdsmen Have Access to Safe Water

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About 17,000 herdsmen in the Three-River Headwaters on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau have for the first time been accessible to safe tap water, a local official said Friday.

The Three-River Headwaters, known as Sanjiangyuan in Chinese, is the source of China's three major waterways: the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers.

"Sanjiangyuan has the most vulnerable and primitive ecosystem in China," said Li Xiaonan, deputy director of the Sanjiangyuan ecological preservation and construction office of Qinghai Province.

"We have invested more than 30 million yuan (US$4.4 millionrs) to install the water pipelines to provide safe drinking water to both people and livestock there," Li said.

Due to global warming and frequent human activities, meadows of the Three-River Headwaters have been sharply deteriorated, and the water resources polluted, Li said.

In 2005, the central government initiated a 7.5-billion-yuan ecologic reconstruction project in Sanjiangyuan area.

(Xinhua News Agency October 2, 2009)