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China to build "sponge cities" to address urban waterlogging

BEIJING, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- China will try to turn its cities into "sponges" to better absorb rain following several fatal bouts of urban inundation in recent years, the State Council said Tuesday.

A campaign called "sponge city" will see the construction of high-level urban sewer systems during renovation work and new roads, residences, industrial parks and public green areas, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting.

The sewer system will drain rain water quickly and guide it to collection facilities for recycling.

The government encourages private investors to participate in the construction of the new sewer systems and asks financial institutions to provide support.

Heavy rain often results in floods in cities with outdated sewer systems.

In one case, 79 people died in Beijing after a rainstorm on July 21, 2012.

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