BEIJING, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- About 298 million more rural residents in China are hopefully to have access to safe drinking water by 2015, according to a water resources official Monday.
Resolving the drinking water safety problem for these rural residents and 114,000 schools in the countryside by 2015 has been listed as one of the government's priority projects, said Yan Guanyu, deputy director of the China Irrigation and Drainage Development Center under the Ministry of Water Resources.
A total of 196 million of the 298 million rural residents who do not have access to adequate and safe drinking water were newly added in recently years due to diminishing sources of safe water, worsening water pollution, rundown and under-qualified water facilities and the adoption of new and stricter drinking water standards, Yan said.
China will invest 175 billion yuan (27.8 billion U.S. dollars) by 2015 to ensure supplies of safe drinking water in rural areas, according to a report delivered in June this year by Vice Minister of Water Resources Li Guoying to a session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, China's top legislature.
Over the past decade, China has spent 178.6 billion yuan on building drinking water projects across the countryside, benefiting 326 million rural residents, according to data from the Ministry of Water Resources.