An unprecedented 226.6 billion yuan (.4 billion) was invested in poverty-stricken areas by the Ministry of Water Resources between 2012 and 2016, according to a senior water resources official.[Special Coverage]
"With this investment, which is our largest ever, poverty-stricken areas have seen rapid development in water conservancy and the people in these areas have benefitted greatly from associated water conservancy projects," said Zhou Xuewen, vice-minister of the ministry.
The money has helped ensure 110 million people now have access to safe drinking water and more than 70 percent of the country's rural population are connected to a water supply network, he said.
Of the 115 major water conservancy and supply projects launched during the period, 66 were in poverty-stricken areas, Zhou said.
The State Council, China's Cabinet, plans to launch another 172 such projects, about 70 percent of which will be in central and western China or poverty-stricken areas.