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There is an old Chinese saying that when noble guests visit the streets must be sprinkled with water. Water use per person (personal, agricultural and industrial): 116,000 gallons, compared to 484,500 gallons in the United States. About half of China's water is used for irrigation. This figure may rise to 70 percent by the next century.

By various accounts 97 percent or rural people lack adequate sanitation and 360 million rural people lack access to safe drinking water. Many more villages have access to electricity than running water. Outhouses and fields are what people use in villages not flush toilets. Running hot water is often considered a luxury that only the Chinese elite can afford.

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Q: Why is water so important in China?
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