LCQ16 : Handling of leakage from private fresh water pipes explained

Following is a question by the Hon Ho Chung-tai and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, at the Legislative Council meeting today (November 13) :


It was reported that in handling a report of water leakage from a burst fresh water pipe at the rear lane of a building on Bedford Road in Tai Kok Tsui, staff of the Water Supplies Department ("WSD") stated that the water pipe was private property and only told the person responsible for the management of the building to arrange for repairs. However, a written application had to be made to the WSD for suspension of water supply before the repair works could be carried out. On the sixth day of the incident and upon receipt of the application, WSD sent its staff to disconnect the water supply, but they found valve of the water mains not functioning and could not be closed. Subsequently, it took another some ten days to have the malfunctioning valve repaired. The entire incident took more than 20 days to resolve, resulting in wastage of a large amount of fresh water. Regarding the wastage of fresh water due to the burst of water pipes, will the Government inform this Council whether:

(a) the WSD will take any follow-up action on cases of minor water leakage from private fresh water pipes where the owners concerned have not applied for suspension of water supply for repairs to the water pipes; if so, of the details;

(b) there were incidents in the past three years in which the water supply could not be disconnected because of the malfunctioning valves of water mains; if so, the estimated quantity of fresh water wasted as a result; and

(c) regular inspections have been conducted on the water mains valves of the public water supply systems; if so, of the details?


Madam President,

(a) When a minor water leakage from a water pipe inside a private flat is discovered, the Water Supplies Department (WSD) will request the consumer concerned or his agent to arrange for repairs. If the leakage is not repaired within a specified period, the WSD may suspend water supply to the consumer so as to prevent excessive water wastage. Upon receipt of a repair notice from the WSD, the consumer or his agent should arrange for responsible persons to close the inlet valve inside the building to facilitate repair works. If there is a need for the WSD to disconnect water supply by closing the gate valve, the customer or his agent may apply to the Department for making the necessary arrangement. However, if there is a major water leakage or a burst of water pipes inside a private flat causing flooding or posing danger, the WSD will immediately disconnect the water supply and notify the customer or his agent to carry out urgent repair works, regardless of whether they have made such an application.

(b) Over the past three years, we have found only one incident in which the consumer had to arrange for repairing a burst water pipe inside a building and the water supply could not be disconnected because of the malfunctioning gate valve. However, the amount of water wasted as a result was only minimal.

(c) The WSD conducts regular inspection and maintenance on major valves of trunk water mains. The major work in this respect includes cleansing valve chambers, applying lubricant and checking the operation of water main valves. The WSD will generally check the other valves when carrying out works on water pipes or inspecting water main valves. Should any damage be found in the valves, repair or replacement work will be arranged as soon as possible.

End/Wednesday, November 13, 2002