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Government launches Action Plan for Enhancing Drinking Water Safety in Hong Kong (with photo/video)

The Government today (September 21) launched the Action Plan for Enhancing Drinking Water Safety in Hong Kong to further safeguard drinking water quality in Hong Kong through a multi-pronged approach.

After the incident of excess lead found in drinking water in 2015, relevant government bureaux and departments have spared no efforts in taking forward follow-up actions and implementing various improvement measures. The International Expert Panel on Drinking Water Safety (IEP) set up in June last year has been providing advice on issues regarding drinking water safety. After appointing expert consultants to study the experience and practices of drinking water safety in other countries and taking into account the advice of the IEP, the Development Bureau (DEVB) and the Water Supplies Department (WSD) have holistically reviewed the existing drinking water safety regime in Hong Kong and developed the Action Plan to safeguard the drinking water quality in Hong Kong.

The Action Plan comprises five components, namely "Drinking water standards and enhanced water quality monitoring programme", "Plumbing material control and commissioning requirements for new plumbing installations", "Water safety plans", "Water safety regulatory regime" and "Publicity and public education". It aims at further enhancing drinking water safety in Hong Kong in a comprehensive manner.

The WSD will enhance the existing water quality monitoring programme by collecting random water samples annually from consumers' drinking taps for testing. The first stage of the programme will test the existence of six metals, namely antimony, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead and nickel that could be present in internal plumbing systems. The collected data on local water quality will form the basis for assessing the appropriateness of adopting standards beyond the guidelines set by the World Health Organization. The enhanced programme is targeted to commence before the end of December.

As water quality from consumers' taps will be affected by the construction, subsequent operation and maintenance of the internal plumbing systems, the Action Plan also includes strengthening the regulatory control of plumbing materials; reviewing the legislation in order to explore the establishment of a registration regime for defining the roles and responsibilities of the related persons engaged in the design and construction of inside services; and tightening of the commissioning requirements for new plumbing installations. The Action Plan will also promote the implementation of water safety plans for buildings to property owners and property management agencies, to enable them to systematically assess and check the internal plumbing system of buildings for enhancing drinking water safety. The Government will also enhance publicity and public education on the safe use of water and review the drinking water safety regulatory regime in Hong Kong.

In order to raise public awareness of the Action Plan, the WSD will organise briefing sessions later. Details will be announced in due course. The WSD is also launching a dedicated webpage on the Action Plan (www.wsd.gov.hk/en/actionplan) today for the public to download leaflets and relevant information. The WSD has set up a hotline (2824 5000, press 05 after language selection) for public enquiries about the Action Plan.

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Ends/Thursday, September 21, 2017
Issued at HKT 15:45

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