Hong Kong needs land for housing, but filling up reservoirs makes no sense
With the shortage of land for housing development, there has been some discussion on the possibility of filling up reservoirs to create land. However, this is really short-sighted and completely ignores the issue of climate change.
Under climate change, the possibility of having a severe drought like the one in 1963 actually increases. If such a drought occurs, the entire Guangdong province will be likely to suffer.
Do Hong Kong people really expect that they will still get 24 hours of water supply from Guangdong while the rest of the province has to ration water? In fact, it is for this reason that the Hong Kong government is building a desalination plant, to prepare for the possibility of severe drought.
Given this scenario, filling up reservoirs makes absolutely no sense. If anything, with the ever-increasing population, we should be having more reservoirs to prepare for the expected higher frequency of occurrence of drought.
Other measures to increase the supply of water, such as reducing leakage, rainfall harvesting and water recycling, are also needed.
We must remember that one can live without electricity, but no living thing can live without water.
Johnny Chan, chair professor, Atmospheric Science, City University of Hong Kong