“Water for Cheung Chau,” ran a South China Morning Post headline on August 7, 1954. “Government has prepared a scheme to build a mass concrete gravity dam at Shap Lung, Lantau Island, to supply water to the residents of Cheung Chau Island.” At the time, Cheung Chau’s 20,000 inhabitants relied on wells for their water supply. “During the dry season in winter, the supply is totally inadequate and water has to be taken to the island by junk,” reported the Post . The proposed Lantau dam would hold 35 million gallons of water, which would be transported to Cheung Chau via a pipeline laid on the seabed between the two islands. “It is estimated that 200,000 gallons of water a day can thus be supplied,” the story continued. September 3, 1955, was “a memorable day for the people of Cheung Chau Island […] for, after suffering from a lack of adequate water supplies ever since the Island was inhabited, the population is to get the benefit of a $750,000 Government scheme that will take the precious liquid into their homes”, the Post reported. “Mr K.M.A. Barnett, District Commissioner, New Territories, turned a fountain tap that sent water squirting many feet into the air. Children lost no time in cooling themselves under the spray.” In a speech given in Chinese, Barnett detailed Cheung Chau’s transformation from a 200-year-old fishing community, “of whom the honour of being the first arrivals belongs to the Hoklos”, to a “busy town”, according to the article. “Cheung Chau had everything it needed – being short of only one thing and that was a plentiful source of drinking water,” he continued. “Cantonese idiom uses the word water to refer to a source of wealth and in many expressions ‘water’ must be translated as ‘money’. But if you have none of the ordinary kind of water to drink it is much more serious than lack of this special kind of water which you earn.” Barnett said that with the addition of the piped water supply, “I am sure Cheung Chau will go forward to still greater prosperity […] as the plentiful water comes flowing in so may the wealth come flowing in”.