More than 40 percent of drinking water in rural China falls short of government standards, state media said Monday, citing a health ministry study.
The survey found 44.4 percent of all drinking water in the rural areas was unhealthy, leading to outbreaks of diarrhoea and other diseases, Xinhua said, citing the Ministry of Health.
"The condition of drinking water in rural areas still has a long way to go to improve the health condition and living quality for rural people," said ministry spokesman Mao Qunan, according to Xinhua.
The findings were based on a joint survey by the Ministry of Health and the National Committee for the Patriotic Public Health Campaign of nearly 7,000 samples from villages across the country, the report said.
Mao said 74.9 percent of people drank underground water while 25.1 percent drank surface water.
"Most people living in rural areas do not have their drinking water sterilised, and often they just drink the well water, which may have been polluted already," the spokesman said.
Three decades of unchecked industrialisation have led to massive contamination of China's water supplies and reports of polluting factories causing disruptions to water supplies emerge often.
More than 70 percent of the country's waterways and 90 percent of its underground water is polluted, according to previously released government figures.