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Tibetans tap safe water aided by Beijing cadres
By:China Daily
update:August 16,2022
Before Huang Zimin arrived in Damshung county in the Tibet autonomous region in 2019 as an Aid-Tibet cadre from Beijing, he thought the biggest challenge would be the lower levels of oxygen on the plateau, but he soon realized the real challenge was the lack of safe drinking water.
Huang had previously served as the deputy director of a neighborhood committee in Beijing's Dongcheng district. When he came to Tibet in July, 2019, he was appointed executive deputy head and executive deputy secretary of Damshung county for a three-year period.
At the Third National Symposium on Work in Tibet in 1994, the central government made aiding Lhasa's overall development the responsibility of the city of Beijing and for the last 27 years, the two cities have enjoyed a close relationship, much like a hada-the white Tibetan scarf that represents purity and honesty-that has greatly contributed to the plateau city's development.
Damshung is 170 kilometers from downtown Lhasa. Lying at an average altitude of 4,300 meters, it is one of the remotest counties, with the highest average altitude and the thinnest air, of all of Lhasa's eight counties and districts.
It was not easy for someone from the plains of Beijing to come to live and work in such a harsh environment.
"I made lots of preparations for altitude sicknesses, because I was worried about the lack of oxygen on the plateau," he said.
Huang embarked on fieldwork as soon as he arrived. "I always took an oxygen canister with me wherever I went, just like people take their smartphones wherever they go."
The fieldwork revealed the existence of a serious, long-standing problem with drinking water.
"I noticed that many people drove cars or rode motorbikes to springs to fetch drinking water, and that they had to store water in big plastic buckets," Huang said. He and his team decided to launch a water project to help resolve the issue.
They couldn't quite agree on whether to tap surface or ground water for the project, but after looking into the matter, they decided to go with surface water, as they found that this was what residents favored and it was good quality.
With an investment of 30 million yuan ($4.4 million) from the Beijing government-backed Aid-Tibet Fund, the Damshung-Beijing Waterworks was completed and entered operations in May of last year.
Thanks to the project, more than 12,000 residents of Damchukha township and Gonthang village now have access to safe, running drinking water at home.
Lumo, a Damchukha resident, said that she and her fellow villagers had to travel several kilometers to get water, or get it from a well in the past.
"But the well water was not clean, and there were always shortages," she said. "Since the project, the water quality has improved, and we all find it so convenient to have running water at home."

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