• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 10:35am
NewsHong Kong
CONSERVATION

City must reduce reliance on Dongjiang water, John Tsang says

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 March, 2014, 6:16am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 March, 2014, 6:16am
 

Seawater desalination is an important future source of water supply for Hong Kong, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah has reiterated.

It was necessary for the city to adopt the process because Guangdong, which currently provides up to 80 per cent of Hong Kong's tap water, is seeing a growing demand for the resource, Tsang wrote in his weekly blog post yesterday.

"While Hong Kong's drinking water supply is currently stable, residents easily overlook the risk concerning the long-time supply," he wrote. "The increasingly affluent cities in Guangdong, including Heyuan , Huizhou , Dongguan and Shenzhen, are having an increasing demand for Dongjiang river's water … Hong Kong should not over-rely on Dongjiang water; we should responsibly explore alternative, new water sources."

Tsang's post followed a week in which the government asked the public to look towards the north of the border for "a stable supply" of another basic resource: electricity.

Seawater desalination was adopted by the colonial government in the 1970s and 1980s, but the process was stopped in the face of surging fuel prices.

But as Tsang declared in his budget last year, the technology is now ripe for use once more. The growing global popularity of reverse osmosis has helped lower the cost of the process from HK$35 per cubic metre in the 1970s to just HK$12 now, he said.

The government has earmarked a site in Tseung Kwan O to build the desalination facilities, expected to be put into operation in 2020, providing 5 per cent of local water.

"Although [the price of the process] is still a bit higher than other water sources, it is overall acceptable," Tsang said. "I also believe the cost will be further reduced given the future development of the technology.

"We need to be well prepared ... to make seawater desalination an important water source for Hong Kong in the long run."

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2

This article is now closed to comments

dienw
What about collecting more rainwater ? We just spent millions building tunnels to divert it into the sea.
johnyuan
Arn't our country parks many of them serve as catch basin for rainwater? Save and protect them. Don't let 5% of supply from seawater desalination to justify any % of converting country park into property development.
.
Let Guangdong developes seawater desalination if it needs be and do so with its nuclear power. I think probably it will be the most economical.

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