The World Bank's board of executive directors has approved a loan of US$25 million to help improve access to water and sanitation in west China, the WB China office announced on Wednesday.
The Western Provinces Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion Project is intended to increase the access of poor communities to sustainable and equitable water supplies, sanitation and hygiene promotion services by adopting an integrated and participatory approach, which can be replicated in other provinces, according to a WB statement.
The total investment costs are US$75.36 million, with US$25 million of loans from the WB, US$25 million of grants from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and US$25.36 million from the participating provinces of Shaanxi and Sichuan.
According to the WB, the project will be implemented in 25 counties.
More than 60 percent of the investment will be spent on improving access to safe drinking water, through the construction of piped water supply systems, rainwater collection systems and wells. All schools within the project areas of Shaanxi Province and selected schools in Sichuan Province will be supplied with safe water.
More than a quarter of the investment will go into improving environmental sanitation, by building or upgrading household, public and school toilets, hand washing and drainage facilities, and garbage drop-off points.
The project will also support hygiene promotion, as well as providing management and technical training.
More than 300 million people in China have no access to safe and clean drinking water, most of them in comparatively poor rural areas.
The government has pledged to provide safe and clean drinking water for 160 million rural people by 2010, and for all rural people by 2015.
(Xinhua News Agency June 28, 2007)