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Across China: Century-old teahouse witnesses cleaner water in Xinjiang

URUMQI, June 28 (Xinhua) -- As the owner of a century-old teahouse in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, 64-year-old Mamet Osman knows all about the importance of accessible and potable water.

"A tasty pot of tea can't be made without good water," Osman said.

Local residents drink tea and chat at Ostang Boi Teahouse in the ancient city of Kashgar, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, May 17, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhao Ge)

Located in the ancient city of Kashgar in south Xinjiang, Osman's Ostang Boi Teahouse is a popular meeting place among locals. Over 20 kinds of tea and soft drinks are served with clean and stable tap water.

Tourists drink tea at Ostang Boi Teahouse in the ancient city of Kashgar, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, May 17, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhao Ge)

But just decades ago, making tea was not so simple.

There was no tap water when Osman was a boy. Locals had to get water from a nearby water hole formed by a river. Osman would have to pour the water in an earthenware pot and let it sit until the dirt particles subsided.

"The water tasted tart, and it was easy to catch diarrhea in the summer," he said.

Photo taken on May 17, 2020 shows the earthenware pot Mamet Osman used when he was a boy. (Xinhua/Zhao Ge)

Osman gained access to tap water in the 1970s, but the water supply was not stable until the 1990s. Water quality was significantly improved in 2015 when the ancient city's renovation project was completed.

"There is less scale after the water is boiled now," according to Osman.

Mamet Osman shows the tap water faucet in the kitchen at Ostang Boi Teahouse in the ancient city of Kashgar, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, May 17, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhao Ge)

Mamet Imi drinks tea at Ostang Boi Teahouse in the ancient city of Kashgar, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, May 17, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhao Ge)

Mamet Imi, 81, has frequented the teahouse for over 40 years. "The water has become much cleaner, and most importantly, the tea tastes better."