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All rural residents in the People's Republic of China will have access to clean drinking water by 2020 under a new plan announced recently by the central government's Water Resources Ministry, according to a report in China Daily, the country's national English-language newspaper.
In announcing the plan, Vice Minister of Water Resources Zhai Haohui said the number of rural residents without access to clean drinking water would be reduced by one-third before 2010 and that all rural residents would enjoy access to clean water by 2020, the report said.
Zhai said more than 300 million people in rural China lack clean drinking water, according to the report.
"In some areas, many farmers have to go several kilometers away to fetch drinking water, while some have to drink water with high fluorine or arsenic content or salty water that endangers their health," he said in the report.
The government during the last 5 years has installed 800 new water processing facilities, providing more than 14 million rural families with first-time access to clean drinking water, the report stated.