The rivers in Guangdong are Hong Kong's major source of raw water. Hong
Kong began to receive raw water from Guangdong when a scheme was completed
in 1960 for receiving a piped supply of 22.7 million cubic metres a year.
In 1989, an agreement was concluded with the Guangdong
provincial authorities for a long-term water supply. Dongjiang (East River)
water is now delivered to Hong Kong via the Shenzhen Reservoir through
a transfer system, covering about 80 kilometres, which is commonly known
as the Dongshen Water Supply System.
In recent years, due to rainfall being much above
average together with the declining demand from local industry, the demand
for raw water from Guangdong has decreased. The Government reached an
agreement with the Guangdong provincial authorities in July 1998 whereby
the annual increase stipulated in the 1989 agreement was to be reduced
from 30 million cubic metres to 10 million cubic metres for the years
from 1998 to 2004. As a result, the total intake for the seven years will
be reduced by 560 million cubic metres. Under the agreement, the supply
quantity for 2003 was 810 million cubic metres, rising to 820 million
cubic metres in 2004, compared with the system's present designed maximum
capacity of 1 100 million cubic metres per year. The annual
supply quantity beyond 2004 will be subject to further review.
The Dongshen Water Supply System initially had an
open channel design. However, to eliminate pollution of the water within
the system, a closed aqueduct was built. The first section of the closed
aqueduct was commissioned in January, and resulted in a significant improvement
in the raw water quality. The completion of the entire closed aqueduct
in June was a milestone in the work to improve the quality of Dongjiang
water. The raw water quality data obtained after the full commissioning
indicated further improvements.
Full supply was maintained throughout the year. At year-end, the water
in storage amounted to 446 million cubic metres, compared with 442 million
cubic metres a year earlier. Hong Kong's two largest reservoirs, High
Island and Plover Cove, held a total of 402 million cubic metres. Rainfall
of 1 942 millimetres — 12.29 per cent lower than the annual average
of 2 214 millimetres — was recorded in 2003.
A peak daily consumption of 2.91 million cubic metres
was recorded on July 14, compared with the 2002 peak of 2.83 million cubic
metres. The average daily consumption throughout the year was 2.67 million
cubic metres, compared with the 2002 average of 2.6 million cubic metres.
The consumption of potable water totalled 974 million cubic metres, compared
with 949 million cubic metres in 2002. In addition, 241 million cubic
metres of sea water were supplied for flushing, compared with 235 million
cubic metres in 2002.
The first stage of the Tai Po Water Treatment Works, with a daily capacity
of 250 000 cubic metres, was commissioned in June. Work is progressing
on the first stage of the 20-year programme for the replacement or rehabilitation
of some 3 050 kilometres of watermains. This work began in December 2000.
Construction is under way for the additional service reservoirs, pumping
stations and water supply networks in Kowloon West and East, Hong Kong
Island, Pok Fu Lam (including the Cyberport), Tseung Kwan O, Ngong Ping,
Sha Tin, Tai Po, North District, Tuen Mun, Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai and
North Lantau (for Hong Kong Disneyland). Major improvement works on the
sea water supply system for Central Kowloon and Tsuen Wan continue.
Continuing planning work is in hand to increase the
water supply capacity to meet demands from new developments and redevelopment
in Central, Wan Chai, western and south-western areas on Hong Kong Island;
Kwun Tong in Kowloon; and Tsuen Wan, Kwai Tsing, Yuen Long, Hung Shui
Kiu, North Lantau, Tseung Kwan O, and the north-eastern and north-western
New Territories. Major design work is focused on the provision of additional
service reservoirs, pumping stations and water supply networks in North
Point, Quarry Bay, Wan Chai; Kowloon East, West Kowloon Reclamation, Cha
Kwo Ling, Tuen Mun, Sha Tin, Yuen Long, Tai Po, Tin Shui Wai, Tseung Kwan
O and North Lantau.
As part of the strategy to encourage proper maintenance
of internal plumbing systems in buildings, a voluntary Fresh Water Plumbing
Quality Maintenance Recognition Scheme was launched in July 2002. The
scheme received encouraging public support and more than 870 certificates
of compliance were issued under the scheme, benefiting more than 190 000
The number of consumer accounts continues to rise
at a rate of about 1.6 per cent per year and the consumer account base
expanded to approximately 2.58 million accounts at year-end. To provide
greater convenience to customers, applications for change of consumership,
change of mailing address, and change of water bill language for a domestic
account can be made online. The Water Supplies Department continues to
act as an agent to collect general sewage charges on behalf of the Drainage
To heighten both customer service and operational
efficiency, the department rolled out the first stage of its Customer
Care and Billing System (CCBS) in December and the entire system will
be completed by the end of 2004.