A big splash of waste

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 11:08pm


More than one million litres of fresh water go down the drain at five public swimming centres every day.

That's according to a new report, commissioned by the Water Supplies Department last year. It has sparked calls for better water management.

The figures suggest that up to six million litres of water are used and lost daily at the Leisure and Cultural Services Department's pool complexes in Fanling, Kowloon Park, Kowloon Tsai, Morrison Hill and Sha Tin. The seven pools at the Sha Tin Jockey Club are the most wasteful, according to the report. They use an average of 1,310 cubic metres a day.

That includes water used in showers, toilets, pool replenishing, and cleansing.

It's the equivalent of half the water in an Olympic-sized pool.

On an average day during the peak summer swimming season in 2010, only 990 people swam there. That means every visitor to the complex used an average of 1,323 litres of water on every visit.

Guidelines issued by the Australian utility Sydney Water last year recommend 20 litres per swimmer.

Brian Lam Wai-ping, a swimming pool contractor with experience in public pools projects, said the local usage figures were very high.

Lam said many outdoor pools, like those in Sha Tin, suffered from water evaporation. Poorly kept pools could have leakage issues, too.

Chan May-ling, chief executive of Friends of the Earth, called for a full disclosure of the audit results.

'This will introduce a healthy competition among the pools to reduce consumption,' she said.