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CPPCC members stress drinking water safety in rural areas

Updated: 2020-10-11chinadaily.com.cn

Cai Qihua, a member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and former vice-minister of water resources, inquired about the tap supply in villages in Shandong province at a symposium held by the CPPCC National Committee in the provincial capital Jinan on Sept 26.

After listening to reports by the provincial government and relevant departments, Cai asked how to help the remaining 3 percent of the rural population that are not covered by the tap water supply program in Shandong.

She had learned that 97 percent of rural people in the province have access to tap water, much higher than the 42 percent figure in 2004.

A tap water supply solution for the remaining 3 percent population is being implemented, said Liu Zhonghui, head of the department of water resources of Shandong.

Cai stressed the quality and efficiency in guaranteeing rural drinking water safety and the protection of water sources. She also advised ensuring that most counties have medium-sized and large reservoirs and most villages and towns have small ones as water sources by the end of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period.

Cui Li, a member of the CPPCC National Committee and former deputy head of the National Health Commission, raised a question about the indicators of water quality tests in villages after the integration of urban and rural areas.

An official from the Shandong provincial health commission explained that there are 1,046 monitoring sites in urban areas and 3,190 in rural areas in 16 cities across Shandong.

The official added that the number of test indicators has been raised to the current 40 from the original 20 and tests are conducted in the dry and wet seasons every year.

Yu Gesheng, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee and former vice-chairman of the National Council for Social Security Fund, said he was worried about the low utilization of water plants and pipe networks in rural areas. The standardized management and operation of reservoirs and water plants after their completion is the top concern of him.

China Geological Survey Vice-President Li Pengde, also a member of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee, suggested participation by the natural resources department in research of rural drinking water so as to better regulate the indicators of underground water, noting that the underground water resources are under the administration of the department.

Chen Lei, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee and vice-chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the CPPCC National Committee, proposed passing of regulations by provincial authorities responsible for drinking water in rural areas.

Vice-governor of Shandong Ren Airong vowed to further improve the water quality, better protect the safety of water sources, build a large and high-quality water supply system with strict standards and adopt a project operation and management system featuring flexible mechanisms, standardized management and considerate services.

From Sept 24 to 26, before the symposium, the attendees conducted surveys in Liaocheng and Dezhou cities of Shandong to learn about water supply and management of water resources.

They visited the construction site of Shenzhou Reservoir, a supportive facility of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project, an ecological improvement project, and the Xiangjia River Reservoir.

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