LCQ21: Flood prevention measures for villages

     Following is a question by the Hon Chan Hak-kan and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Michael Wong, in the Legislative Council today (December 16):
     With the continuous aggravation of global warming, extreme weather conditions have hit Hong Kong more frequently in recent years. During a number of severe rainstorms this year, serious flooding occurred in certain villages (including the following villages in New Territories East: Lo Wu Village, Ping Yeung Village and Lei Uk Village in Ta Kwu Ling; Cheung Uk Tei Village, Yue Kok Village, Shuen Wan Chim Uk Village, Shuen Wan Chan Uk Village, Wong Yue Tan Village and San Tau Kok Village in Tai Po; as well as Ha Tei Ha Village in Sha Tin), threatening the safety of villagers' lives and properties. Regarding flood prevention measures for villages, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the follow-up actions taken by the relevant government departments in respect of the flooding problems in the aforesaid villages; whether they will roll out improvement measures; if so, of the timetables;
(2) and of the number of reports on flooding incidents in villages received by the Government since January this year, with a breakdown by District Council district; among such incidents, of the respective numbers of those the causes of which involved problems of (i) blockage of outfalls and (ii) inadequate flood relieving capacities of drainage channels; the details and progress of the follow-up actions taken in respect of such flooding incidents; the number of locations where the flooding problems have yet to be resolved and the relevant details; and
(3) as the Government has recently proposed carrying out a number of district minor works projects so as to resolve the flooding problems in certain villages, but quite a number of villagers have relayed that funding approval for some of the projects (e.g. the project in San Tau Kok Village in Tai Po) has not been granted by the District Councils concerned after a protracted period of time, resulting in indefinite delay in their implementation, how the Government will resolve such problem; whether it will strengthen the Government's role in taking forward district works; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

     Stormwater drainage facilities in the rural areas of the New Territories include natural stream courses, engineered channels and drains. In general, the Government and the relevant private owners are responsible for the construction and maintenance of the stormwater drainage facilities within their land lots according to their respective responsibilities.
     Since 1994, the Drainage Services Department (DSD) has been formulating and updating the Drainage Master Plan in stages for the New Territories and other major areas of the territory, and implementing a number of drainage improvement measures as planned. In the New Territories, the DSD has completed a number of flood prevention works, including the river regulation works for Kam Tin River, Shan Pui River, Shenzhen River, Ng Tung River, Sheung Yue River and Ping Yuen River, as well as the flood protection schemes for 27 low-lying villages.
     Further, when a flooding report is received, the DSD will deploy staff providing emergency support to help citizens clear blocked drains and draining excessive water, regardless of whether the affected area is on private or government land. The DSD will also examine villages with past flooding records so as to formulate appropriate stormwater drainage improvement measures. Further, the Home Affairs Department (HAD) will consider the villagers' requests for implementation of minor construction or improvement works to stormwater drainage facilities in villages under minor works programme.
     Having consulted the relevant departments, I provide a reply to the three parts of the Hon Chan's question as follows:
(1) According to the information of the DSD and HAD, there were records of flooding at the 10 villages in the North District and Tai Po District in recent years mentioned by Hon Chan. Among them, the flooding incidents in Lo Wu Village, Yue Kok Village and Chan Uk Village were due to blockage of drains. Enhancement of the drainage clearance work could prevent recurrence of similar events. For the flooding incidents in the remaining seven villages, the follow-up actions of the relevant government departments are listed below:

(2) As at today, the DSD and HAD received a total of 29 flooding incident reports in rural areas this year. Among them, 16 incidents involved blockage of stormwater drainage facilities and 13 incidents involved insufficient drainage capacity of stormwater drainage facilities. Details are as follows:

     Among the 13 incidents involving insufficient drainage capacity, the improvement works for the stormwater drainage facilities of five incidents have been completed while improvements works for two incidents are in progress and are expected to be completed in 2022. The stormwater drainage facilities improvement works for the remaining six incidents are in the planning and design stage. The DSD and relevant District Offices will commence the works as soon as possible.
(3) The HAD will conduct minor construction or improvement works to drainage facilities in rural villages through the minor works programme. If any stakeholder has different opinions and concerns about the projects, the HAD will strive to explain the details of the works and arrange site visits as necessary to facilitate the implementation of works.
     Regarding the progress of the San Tau Kok Village drainage improvement works, the relevant project was supported and approved by the District Facilities Management Committee of the Tai Po District Council on September 12, 2019. The Tai Po District Office is consulting the relevant government departments on the project. Further, since the scopes of some of the proposed works involve private lots, the Tai Po District Office will consult the affected private owners and obtain their consents with a view to expediting the implementation of the project. The Tai Po District Office will regularly report the progress of the project to the District Facilities Management Committee of the Tai Po District Council. 

Ends/Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Issued at HKT 15:00