BEIJING, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- China will continue to increase its investment in water conservation infrastructure construction and accelerate its pace of building water conservation projects, a senior official said Wednesday.
China had invested nearly 260 billion yuan (40.63 billion U.S. dollars) in water conservation infrastructure construction by the end of September, with the central government's investment reaching 113.9 billion yuan, Jiao Yong, vice minister of water resources, said at a press conference.
The investment has been used to improve the availability of safe drinking water for 63.5 million rural residents, teachers and students, reinforce 6,595 dangerous reservoirs, harness 800 rivers and build early warning systems for flooding in 1,100 counties, Jiao said.
Despite severe flooding this year, the country reported no breaches of major rivers and tributaries and no bursts in mid- to large-sized reservoirs, Jiao said.
China aims to harness more than 5,000 rivers over the next five years, reinforce 5,400 reservoirs and speed up the construction of early warning systems for flooding and storm tides.
The country will also work to ensure safe drinking water for residents, renovate key irrigation facilities, prevent and control land soil erosion, and restore the ecosystems of some environmentally-deteriorated regions over the next five years, Jiao said.
Efforts will be intensified to promote water conservation as well as the sustainable use of the precious resource, he said.
The government has been paying increasing attention to water conservation, as flooding and drought in recent years have exposed its weaknesses in the field.