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Project to Provide Clean Drinking Water to Poor Chinese Villages

Available in: 中文
Press Release No:99/2232/EAP

Washington Contacts: Melissa Fossberg (202) 473-1967
fax (202) 522-3405
Sharon R. Goldstein (202) 473-3531
fax (202) 522-3405
Beijing Contact: Li Li 65543361 ext. 2030
Fax 65541686

To obtain project documents please contact the World Bank's Infoshop
at tel: 202-458-5454, fax: 202-522-1500, email: Enquiries

WASHINGTON, June 4, 1999 — With a $16 million World Bank loan and a $30 million equivalent IDA credit approved yesterday, over 3 million people in China will enjoy the benefits of clean, safe water and improved sanitation and health conditions.

In the past decade, China has made significant gains in water supply to rural areas. Improvements range from basic water source protection to piped water supply to households. "But despite recent progress, more than 450 million rural Chinese continue to draw water from unsafe sources or endure insufficient supplies," said George Plant, task manager for the project.

In China, as in other countries, the poor are most likely to suffer from the lack of safe water and the diseases that come with it. The difficulty of protecting water from contamination or lack of fuel to boil water before drinking, for example, combined with poor sanitary conditions lead to such health problems as debilitating bouts of diarrhea.

The Fourth Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project is part of a series of World Bank water and sanitation projects which aim to complement China's efforts in improving rural water supply and sanitation. This project provides financing to four provinces—Anhui, Fujian, Guizhou, and Hainan—which will combine the Bank funds with modest subsidies to provide new water supplies to villages in poor counties. The new supplies will meet health standards, and, equally important, will be conveniently located, saving villager time and encouraging increased consumption. Funds also aid the expansion of supporting sanitation, health education, and operational management services.

The four provinces chosen for the project were selected because of their ability to assist villagers in upgrading and maintaining their water supplies once the project is implemented. Within each of the over 1,600 beneficiary villages, all residents will gain access to safe water.

China has recently made substantial progress in addressing sanitation issues. The World Bank's first project in the series supported only water supply while the second project integrated water supply, sanitation, and health education. The third and fourth projects have continued attention to all three elements, while stressing effective health education.

"Awareness of health and sanitation issues has been successfully raised through China's public education campaigns. This project helps public health staff understand and respond to groups that haven't taken the next step by transforming that awareness into action," Plant said.

The US $16 million IBRD loan would be at the Bank's standard interest rate for LIBOR-based US dollar single-currency loans, with a maturity of 20 years, including a five-year grace period. The US $30 million credit would be on standard IDA terms with 35 years' maturity.

For more information, please visit the Projects website.

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