China moves to address drinking water woes

The Chinese government will enhance monitoring of drinking water sources, control poisonous contaminants and step up early warning mechanisms to ensure drinking water safety, an environmental official told an ecological forum that concluded on Sunday.

Ling Jiang, deputy director of the pollution prevention department under the Ministry of Environmental Protection, said that although 95.3 percent of the monitored drinking water sources in 113 major cities across China met national standards last year, people should not be too optimistic about the situation.

China has no special national standards to monitor drinking water sources, according to Ling.

The figures were obtained from 387 drinking water sources in the 113 cities and by testing only about 20 indicators based on surface water standards. "Some harmful and poisonous contaminants for drinking water were not included," he said.

"We can not conclude that the water sources are of good quality only because these routine indicators meet the criteria," Ling said.

Aside from setting down national standards, the ministry plans to expand monitoring points and include more indicators in the future, according to Ling.

The ministry also plans to take measures to get a more clear view of the quantity and quality of the country's underground water and set up a sound pollution prevention mechanism for underground water within five years, he said.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2013-07/21/c_132559802.htm