China's rapid industrial growth in recent decades has caused significant damage to the country's air, rivers and soil. Now, a new plan to tackle water pollution has been published by the State Council, China's cabinet.

The Action Plan for Water Pollution Prevention and Control is intended to reduce pollutants, improve drinking water and promote water saving, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

The plan sets a target for more than 70 percent of the water in the seven major river valleys, including the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, to be in good condition by 2020. The same target is set for offshore areas.

By the end of 2030, the State Council wants more than 75 percent of the water in the seven major river valleys to be clear, with dark and odorous water in urban areas eliminated.

To help reach these targets, small-scale paper mills, dyeing plants, oil refineries, pesticide producers and other industrial facilities will be shut down by the end of 2016, as they are considered less likely to invest in environmental protection. Larger plants in the same sectors will be required to update their technology to cut water pollution.

Pollution checks will be conducted every year and the results will form part of performance reviews by provincial officials.

In addition, impact on water will become a key consideration in future industrial expansion, the cabinet said. Officials will restrict building of petrochemical and metal smelting factories along major river basins.

"We will fully consider the capacity of our water resources and environment, and determine city planning, project location, population and industrial output according to water reserves," the document stated.