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26 Nov, 2014

China to accelerate water conservation projects

BEIJING, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) — China will step up construction of major water conservation projects, especially in rural areas and central and western regions.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday that governments should accelerate 172 water conservation programs that have strong economic and social importance, during a visit to the Ministry of Water Resources.

Li prioritized central and western regions to address regional water issues, which included diversion projects, reservoirs and irrigation.

It will not only conserve water but attract investment, boost employment, improve incomes of rural dwellers, bolster industry and even stabilize the economic growth, Li said.

All projects, both under construction or still at the discussion stage, should be quickened in a bid to provide a sustainable driving force for growth.

Li described water conservation as of equal significance and urgency to railway construction and renovation of rundown urban areas. The latter two are usually seen as quick and effective tools to weather an economic downturn.

China’s economy expanded 7.3 percent in the third quarter, slightly lower than the first two quarters, but remained in a reasonable range.

The Premier also hoped the market would play a bigger role and suggested a new financing mechanism to encourage private capital to join the programs.

Li eyed more government funding and favorable policies to the water conservation projects, which concern people’s well-being and future development.

China will provide clean drinking water to another 60 million people in 2014, according to a March report. Li urged governments at all levels to make genuine efforts to fulfill the commitment.