BEIJING, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- China has made hefty investment in water conservancy projects over the past five years, benefiting hundreds of millions of people in poor regions, a senior official said Tuesday.
As part of the country's poverty-relief efforts, such investment from the central government reached a record high of 226.6 billion yuan (about 34.3 billion U.S. dollars) between 2012 and 2016, Zhou Xuewen, deputy minister of water resources, told a forum.
The investment helped lift more than 300,000 rural people out of poverty, enabled 110 million rural residents to have safe drinking water, built water-saving irrigation systems on 34 million mu (about 2.3 million hectares) of farmland, and treated water and soil erosion on 41,000 square kilometers of land, Zhou said.
Zhou said the government will continue to increase investment in water conservancy projects in poor regions, and ensure that more than 80 percent of rural residents will enjoy centralized water supply by 2020.
The country also aims to improve the mechanism for water conservancy project investment and financing, encouraging private capital to invest in construction and operation of water conservancy projects in poor regions, he said.