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Australia and China to cooperate on World Water Day.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP Minister for the Environment and Water Resources

T32/07 22 March 2007


As the globe celebrates World Water Day, Australia and China have agreed to extend its already very strong bilateral environment partnership to undertake further work on water management, the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Malcolm Turnbull, announced today.

“The Australian and Chinese Governments signed a declaration of intent today committing to working together on what is one of the greatest environment challenge facing us today - water scarcity,” Mr Turnbull said following meetings at Parliament House with Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan and State Environmental Protection Administration Minister Zhou Shengxian.

“Recognising the common challenge of water scarcity faced by our respective countries and the already extensive and strong cooperation we share on water resources and water management and science, the Australian and Chinese Governments have agreed it is timely to renew our commitment to work together to better manage our respective water resources,” Mr Turnbull said.

“The theme of World Water Day this year is ‘Coping with water scarcity’ and never before has it been more important for all of us to understand and manage properly our precious water resources.

“By 2025 more than 1.8 billion people around the world will be living in regions with absolute water scarcity. Already today 1 billion people lack clean drinking water and 2.4 billion lack basic sanitation,” Mr Turnbull said.

“China and Australia face similar challenges in terms of water scarcity. China is suffering from limited water supply just as Australia has been experiencing one of its worst droughts on record.”

Australia and China already have a very strong bilateral relationship in the area of climate change through the Australia-China Climate Change Partnership, the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate (AP6), and the Joint Coordination Group on Clean Coal Technology.

The declaration of intent builds on the Memorandum of Understanding that Australia and China have on water management.

“We have agreed that the Australian Department of Environment and Water Resources and representatives of the Chinese State Environmental Protection Agency of China will meet at the earliest opportunity to progress this renewed commitment identify opportunities for cooperation and further collaboration in this vital environmental area.”

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