China to Spend ... on Waste Water Treatmen
- From: cnw <cnw@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2006 18:01:36 +0800
China to Spend $125 Billion on Waste Water Treatment (Update1)
By Lee Spears
Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) -- China's government plans to spend a total of 1 trillion
yuan ($125 billion) by 2010 to build waste- water treatment plants around the
country, the Ministry of Construction said.
Up to a third of the spending, or 330 billion yuan, will be set aside for urban
centers, where as many as 278 cities lack proper treatment facilities and at
least 30 cities have plants that operate at less than 30 percent capacity, the
China wants to tap the capital and technology of overseas companies including
Veolia Environment to supply clean water for keeping the world's fourth-largest
economy growing. Water is one of the most vital resources for the world's most
populous nation, which is facing the worst drought in 50 years in its central
and western provinces.
``China is encouraging more foreign investments'' because ``the proportion of
foreign funding is not very big'' in the industry, said Zhang Yue, deputy
director general of urban construction at the Ministry of Construction, at a
press conference today in Beijing. The government's priorities are to ``pay
attention to water safety and public interest,'' he said.
China's sprawling cities have been siphoning water away from farmers,
undermining the government's pledge to improve living standards in the
countryside -- home to 70 percent of the China's 1.3 billion people. Rural water
shortages threaten to stoke unrest, cut harvests and slow the expansion of the
world's fastest-growing major economy.
Guaranteeing adequate water supplies to rural areas, where household incomes
average less than a third of those in cities, is crucial to President Hu
Jintao's goals of reducing social inequality and fostering sustainable growth.
The government is building a $62 billion network of canals to move water to arid
northern provinces, and pledged yesterday to boost spending in rural areas.
The number of protests involving more than 100 people rose to 87,000 last year
from 74,000 in 2004 and 10,000 in 1994, according to the Ministry of Public
Security in Beijing. The ministry declined to say how many of the demonstrations
were related to water.
China's water usage averaged about 2,200 cubic meters per person, a quarter of
the global average, according to the Ministry of Water Resources.
Factories and urban residents used 34 percent of the nation's water in 2004, up
from 25 percent in 1998, the ministry said. That has cut grain production, which
fell 8.4 percent to 469.4 million tons during the same period, according to the
National Bureau of Statistics.
To contact the reporter on this story: Lee Spears in Beijing at
Last Updated: August 22, 2006 00:51 EDT
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