China says 312 million villagers face water shortages or use water contaminated by fluorine, arsenic and organic or industrial pollutants.
To rectify the situation, the Beijing government has promised to provide clean and safe potable water to more than half of the villages in the next five years and others by 2015, the official Xinhua news agency reports.
The project estimated to cost about $5 billion will be entirely funded by the government, the minister of water resources told Xinhua.
Other Chinese officials said worldwide, one in every six people is without safe potable water and that in China there are more than 50 diseases caused and spread by unsafe water.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International