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World Water Day 2024: Water for Peace

Yu Rong and Zhao Hong

Cover image by CGTN's Li Jingjie.
Cover image by CGTN's Li Jingjie.

Cover image by CGTN's Li Jingjie.

World Water Day is an annual global event on March 22 that emphasizes the importance of freshwater and advocates for sustainable water resource management. It serves as a reminder of the importance of water in our daily lives and the necessity to preserve this valuable resource for future generations.

The theme of World Water Day 2024 is 'Water for Peace'. Water is necessary for survival, but millions still lack access to clean and safe drinking water. World Water Day is intended to promote awareness about water-related concerns and encourage action to address the worldwide water crisis. It encourages individuals, communities, and governments to take action to save water, enhance water quality, and ensure equal access to water for everyone.

Before the 1980s, the water supply foundation in rural China was weak due to natural, economic, and social factors, with inferior supply infrastructure and small and distributed water sources that were readily polluted. There were no water facilities in many rural communities.

Many rural dwellers collected water straight from rivers, streams, and ponds. They had to get water from great distances by carriage or carry water in buckets during dry seasons, which significantly damaged their livelihood and presented threats to their health, production activities and socio-economic growth.

Infographic by CGTN's Zhao Hong and Yu Peng.
Infographic by CGTN's Zhao Hong and Yu Peng.

Infographic by CGTN's Zhao Hong and Yu Peng.

China has focused on resolving people's water problems, guiding people to build irrigation and water conservancy projects, shaft sinking, and improving water quality for the prevention and control of endemic diseases, alleviating the difficulties of rural drinking water, and ensuring and upgrading the safety of rural drinking water. Thus, rural water supply has greatly improved.

The Ministry of Water Resources released a work plan in 2024 aimed at increasing tap water accessibility in China's rural areas to 92 percent by the end of the year.

According to Xu Dezhi, deputy director-general of the ministry's department of rural water and hydropower, China's rural water coverage reached 90 percent at the end of last year, exceeding its aim of expanding the proportion to 88 percent two years earlier than expected.

He stated that the achievement followed the ministry's efforts to integrate urban and rural water supplies while encouraging both large and small rural water delivery systems based on local conditions.

Large-scale water supply projects are also expected to serve 63 percent of the country's rural populations by the end of this year, according to the plan.

The ministry urged provincial-level regions to give priority to the integration of urban and rural water supply, and vigorously promote the construction of large-scale centralized water supply projects in areas where urban water supply networks cannot be reached.

Meanwhile, the ministry said, work should be done to advance standardized construction and transformation of small-scale water supply projects in places that cannot be covered by urban and rural water supply integration or large-scale water supply projects.

As we commemorate World Water Day, let us consider the importance of water in our lives and the urgency of safeguarding and preserving this vital resource. Working together to preserve water, promote water sustainability, and ensure everyone has access to clean water, we can help create a healthier, more egalitarian, and sustainable future for all.

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