China will set up a natural drinking water industry in Tibet at a cost of more than USD 6 billion in the next three to five to tap the Himalayan region's high- quality and abundant fresh water resources.
Tibet has the most abundant water resources in China, reaching 439.4 billion cubic metres, 60 times the country's per capita level.
Its clean, uncontaminated water is also considered among the world's best, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Authorities have evaluated water quality at 27 water sources in the Tibet autonomous region and have found 190 million cubic metres of surface drinking water, around 22 per cent of which is exploitable, said Xiang Tongliang, deputy director of Tibet's water resources bureau.
Production of natural drinking water rose 60 per cent in 2014 to 153,000 tonnes and authorities hope it will grow 30 times in the next three to five years, with production value reaching 40 billion yuan (USD 6.44 billion).
However, Losang Jamcan, chairman of the regional government, warned that developing the natural drinking water industry in Tibet should not come at the cost of the region's natural environment.
He said the autonomous region should adhere to a stringent process for extracting water, mete out harsh punishment to violators and improve real-time monitor of water sources being exploited.