Enhancing the Water Safety Regime for Hong Kong
DEVB has established an inter-bureau and inter-departmental working group, including representatives from the Food and Health Bureau, the Environment Bureau, the Transport and Housing Bureau, the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, the Department of Health and the Water Supplies Department (WSD) to identify a suitable water safety regime for Hong Kong. The working group is putting forward proposals on introducing legislation for safeguarding the drinking water safety in Hong Kong, including developing a set of drinking water standards and a water quality regulatory framework, as well as putting in place a comprehensive programme for monitoring the safety and quality of drinking water from the source to the consumers’ taps.
Safeguarding Drinking Water Quality
Before the aforesaid water safety regime is put in place, in order to safeguard the drinking water quality, the WSD has engaged overseas consultants to study the corresponding overseas practices and their applicability in Hong Kong’s situation. Following the advice of International Expert Panel6 (IEP) and with reference to overseas experiences, the WSD and its consultants are developing a holistic plan comprising the drinking water quality standards, the associated sampling protocols, a territory wide water quality monitoring programme as well as its enhanced water safety plan. In tandem, the WSD is developing templates for the Water Safety Plan for buildings for use by building owners and is stepping up the material control in respect of regulation of pipes and fittings used in inside service. Currently, the WSD is making full effort to complete the aforesaid tasks with a view to announcing the details of the holistic plan by end of March 2017.
Moreover, the WSD has set forth on a holistic review of the Waterworks Ordinance and its Regulations with a view to revamping the legislation to cater for the latest development of the plumbing trade, technologies and practices, including a review on the roles and responsibilities of trade personnel and technical requirements and plumbing material standards. In this connection, the WSD has identified some priority amendments including those defining the duties of licensed plumbers and plumbing workers, and those relating to the standards for plumbing materials in the inside service and will submit them to the LegCo for deliberation in the 2016-17 legislative session.
6 The Panel was set up by the DEVB on 1 June 2016 and comprises five members with three overseas members and two local members. The three overseas experts are from United Kingdom, Australia and Canada with extensive experience in the water industry and involvement in the work of international associations. One of the two local experts is an experienced water consultant and the other is a medical professor.
Water Resources Management
To reduce water loss, the WSD has strengthened enforcement action to control leaks of inside service. The WSD is also collaborating with other government departments in taking forward a pilot scheme for leakage detection of underground water pipes and consolidating experience from the scheme to pave the way for promotion of leak detection and maintenance of private underground water pipes by their owners.
Using Building Information Modelling Technology
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a new technology in the construction industry. The technology enables construction professionals to design and build in virtual environments. BIM can minimise changes in the construction process and reduce the project risk, so that the cost of the project at all stages are clearer and more accurate. We are actively seeking to apply the BIM technology in the design of major government capital works projects from 2018 onwards. Consultants and contractors undertaking the design and construction work for these projects will be required to use the BIM technology.
Promoting Green Buildings
Since 2011, registration for certification under BEAM Plus Assessment conferred by the Hong Kong Green Building Council has been a prerequisite for an applicable project to be eligible for GFA concession for its green and amenity features. In order to further promote green building in the private sector, the BD will commission a consultancy study in 2017 to review the current arrangement. The study will, among others, explore the feasibility of tightening the prerequisite by requiring a project to meet certain minimum environment standard before being eligible for GFA concession for its green and amenity features, and adopting a performance-based or site-specific approach for determining the cap for GFA concession.
We will promote a holistic approach to formulate urban forestry strategies, develop proper urban arboricultural practices, enrich vegetation diversity and enhance place ecology for sustainable development of our cityscape. We will also promote capacity-building for the arboriculture and horticulture industry and assist the Arboriculture and Horticulture Industry Training Advisory Committee in developing a qualification framework.
Rehabilitation Works for Aged Drainage Systems
There are about 2 400 kilometres underground drains, including gravity pipes and box culverts, in Hong Kong. Many of these drains were in services for over decades and are suffering from ageing and wear and tear. We will conduct investigations and, where necessary, carry out rehabilitation works for aged drainage systems to minimise flooding risk and safety hazards arising from pipe collapse.
Total Water Management Strategy
To brace Hong Kong for challenges of climate change and continuing population and economic growth, we have taken forward a host of water demand and supply management measures since the promulgation of the Total Water Management (TWM) strategy in 2008. To further strengthen our resilience and preparedness to unforeseen challenges, we will complete a consultancy review in 2017 to update and enhance our TWM strategy.
Development of Desalination
The WSD is proceeding with the design of the first stage of the proposed seawater desalination plant in Tseung Kwan O with a water production capacity of 135 million litres per day (Mld) with provision for expansion to 270 Mld to meet 5% to 10% of Hong Kong’s fresh water demand. The detailed design of water mains for delivery of desalinated water to the water supply system using in-house resources has been largely completed. WSD plans to commence the mainlaying works in 2017.
Water Intelligent Network
The WSD continues to establish the "Water Intelligent Network" (WIN) which comprises a total of about 2 000 District Metering Areas (DMAs) for continuous monitoring of the health conditions of the water supply network. The construction of some 970 DMAs have already been completed at end 2016 and 430 are under construction. WSD has also awarded further contract for construction of 85 DMAs and two consultancies for design of the remaining 515 DMAs. Besides, WSD will put out to tender the intelligent network management computer system for analysing the data collected from the sensors installed at the DMAs in early 2017. To further assist in early identification and thus handling of water mains in poor condition, WSD has engaged a consultant to predict the failure probability of water mains using data mining technique.
Water Conservation and Reclamation
On enhancing promotion of water conservation, WSD has actively engaged diverse sectors of the community in the Water Conservation Week 2016 that was held in mid-November 2016. In the Week, WSD has launched the best practice guidelines for water usage in the catering and hotel industries and encouraged the private sector to conduct review on water usage. WSD will ride on the momentum to continue enhancing collaboration with various stakeholders to promote water conservation. In addition to the "Cherish Water Campus" Integrated Education Programme which over 200 primary schools have already joined, WSD will extend our educational effort to kindergartens. Separately, the design work for the Water Resources Education Centre at Tin Shui Wai for replacing the existing temporary centre has commenced.
On developing new water sources, we are continuing to take forward our work on the supply of reclaimed water in the north-eastern part of the NT (including Sheung Shui and Fanling) for non-potable uses. The associated infrastructure works will commence in stages and WSD has already completed the design of advance infrastructure works. Separately, WSD will complete the consultancy study on the financial and legal framework for the supply of reclaimed water in 2017 and will continue to promote wider use of grey water recycling and rainwater harvesting systems under suitable new government projects.
To promote low carbon construction, emission reduction and the use of recycled materials in public works projects, we will continue to implement measures including promoting the use of electric vehicles in works projects, using biodiesel as fuel for construction machineries in construction sites, adopting green site offices, and using waste glass as fill materials for reclamation works.
Greening, Landscape and Tree Management
To advocate higher quality landscape planning and design in the upstream and more diligent vegetation management and maintenance in the downstream, we will continue to improve the tree risk management strategy, promulgate technical circulars and guidelines, enhance the emergency response system as well as notification system on tree related cases, and promote public education and awareness programme on proper tree care.
We have made good progress with a number of initiatives on heritage conservation –
Landslip Prevention and Mitigation Programme
We are continuing the Landslip Prevention and Mitigation Programme to upgrade and landscape government man-made slopes, mitigate the landslide risk of natural terrain with known hazards, and conduct safety screening studies for private slopes. We will also continue our efforts on public education on slope safety including enhancing the emergency preparedness of the public.
We have been reviewing the Drainage Master Plans (DMP) for various districts with a view to assessing their flood risks and proposing improvement measures to cope with new developments and the impact of climate change. The reviews of the DMP for Yuen Long, North District, Happy Valley, East Kowloon and West Kowloon have been completed whereas those for Sha Tin, Tai Po, Sai Kung, Northern Hong Kong Island, Lautau Island and other outlying islands are in progress. We are also conducting a River Flood Risk Study aiming to draw up flood warning systems and mitigation measures for flood-prone rivers in order to enhance the protection of the residents near these rivers. We will continue to implement projects to improve the drainage systems including Phase 2 construction works of an underground stormwater storage tank in Happy Valley. The works are in good progress with Phase 1 put into operation since March 2015.
7 This figure includes items on the list of 1 444 historic buildings in the territory for which a public consultation exercise on their proposed grading was carried out from March to September 2009 as well as over 200 new items proposed for grading by the public.
8 The AAB will flexibly advance its discussion on the grading of the new items if there is cogent need for an early assessment.
Revitalising Nullahs and River Channels
We will continue the design of the improvement works for the Yuen Long Town Centre Nullah to enhance the local environment quality and its ecological value.
We are also conducting a consultancy study for exploring practicable options for applying the concept of revitalising water bodies to other nullahs and river channels when carrying out large-scale drainage improvement works and drainage planning for NDAs. Apart from achieving efficient drainage, such objectives will promote greening, biodiversity, beautification and water friendliness; build sustainable drainage facilities; and provide a better living environment.