BEIJING, April 25 (Xinhua) -- As many as 242 million residents of China's rural areas still lack access to safe drinking water, Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei said Wednesday.
Problems in ensuring rural access to safe drinking water are expected to be solved by 2015 as a result of government-led efforts, Chen said while presenting a government report on rural water resources to the ongoing bimonthly session of China's national legislature.
The report said the government will give consideration to extending urban water supply networks to rural areas, as well as support the development of centralized water supply systems in the countryside.
The government has vowed to expand coverage of centralized water supply services to 85 percent of the rural population by 2020.
According to a November 2010 census, 674 million people live in China's rural areas.