Pro­ject keeps clean wa­ter flow­ing to HK

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF HKSAR - By XU JINGXI in Guangzhou xu­jingxi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Guang­dong gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to se­cure the wa­ter sup­ply for Hong Kong, mak­ing the Pearl River Delta pro­ject a top pri­or­ity, ac­cord­ing to the head of the pro­vin­cial depart­ment of wa­ter re­sources.

The Pearl River Delta Wa­ter Re­sources Al­lo­ca­tion Pro­ject, which is de­signed to pump wa­ter from the Xi­jiang River val­ley to the Dongjiang River val­ley, will guar­an­tee the wa­ter sup­ply for Hong Kong in emer­gen­cies such as se­vere droughts.

The con­struc­tion of the 34.8 bil­lion yuan ($5.13 bil­lion) pro­ject will start this year, with half of the work to be done by 2020.

“The Guang­dong gov­ern­ment and all the sub­or­di­nate city gov­ern­ments place great im­por­tance on the task of se­cur­ing the wa­ter sup­ply for Hong Kong. Peo­ple liv­ing in the Dongjiang River basin also pay a lot of at­ten­tion to wa­ter qual­ity,” said Xu Yongke, head of the wa­ter re­sources depart­ment of Guang­dong.

“We will keep on strength­en­ing wa­ter pro­tec­tion and push for­ward the con­struc­tion of wa­ter al­lo­ca­tion projects.”

To en­sure wa­ter qual­ity, the gov­ern­ments of six cities in the Dong jiang River basin — Guangzhou, Shen­zhen, Shaoguan, Heyuan, Huizhou and Dong­guan — have re­fused about 7,000 projects since 2011 that might in­flu­ence the river’s wa­ter qual­ity.

Th­ese six cities have spent about 42.1 bil­lion yuan since 2011 on con­struct­ing sewage treat­ment and garbage dis­posal fa­cil­i­ties to pro­tect the wa­ter en­vi­ron­ment. There are al­to­gether 142 sewage treat­ment fa­cil­i­ties in the Dongjiang River basin, han­dling 9.25 mil­lion tons of sewage ev­ery day.

Hong Kong, a sea­port with few nat­u­ral lakes or rivers, has re­lied on moun­tain streams and rain as its main sources of fresh wa­ter. It suf­fered a long drought from May 1963 to June 1964, when res­i­dents were sup­plied with fresh wa­ter only once ev­ery four days.

C o n c e r n e d a b o u t Ho n g Kong’s dif­fi­culty in ac­quir­ing fresh wa­ter, the cen­tral gov­ern­ment un­der­took the DongjiangShen­zhen Wa­ter Sup­ply Pro­ject in Fe­bru­ary 1964. More than 10,000 con­struc­tion work­ers spent 11 months on the pro­ject, which be­gan op­er­a­tions on March 1, 1965.

Wa­ter from the pro­ject has been hailed as the lifeblood of Hong Kong ever since, ac­count­ing for 70 to 80 per­cent of the spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion’s an­nual fresh wa­ter con­sump­tion.

By the end of 2016, the Dong jiang-Shen­zhen Wa­ter Sup­ply Pro­ject had sup­plied Hong Kong with 23.7 bil­lion cu­bic meters of wa­ter. The pro­ject’s an­nual wa­ter sup­ply for Hong Kong is cur­rently be­tween 700 mil­lion and 800 mil­lion cu m.

Ma Siu-che­ung, sec­re­tary for de­vel­op­ment of Hong Kong, ex­tended thanks to Guang­dong for its ef­forts to se­cure Hong Kong’s wa­ter sup­ply dur­ing his visit to the pro­vin­cial depart­ment of wa­ter re­sources in March. “I be­lieve that Guang­dong and Hong Kong will con­tinue good co­op­er­a­tion in the fu­ture,” he said.

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