LCQ10: Measures for solving fresh water supply problem in Sai Kung

Following is a question by the Hon James Tien and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, at the Legislative Council meeting today (April 6) :


I have received complaints from members of the public that fresh water supply to some areas in the Sai Kung District was suspended on many occasions in recent months.  Despite repeated complaints by the local residents to the relevant government departments, the situation has not improved.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the dates at which fresh water supply to areas in the Sai Kung District was suspended in the past year, the duration of such suspensions and the areas affected;

(b) the reasons for the water supply suspensions mentioned in (a) above and why the situation has not improved so far; and

(c) the measures adopted by the authorities for solving the fresh water supply problem in some areas in the Sai Kung District, including whether they will consider exercising their statutory powers to enter private land to replace water pipes, as well as the timetable for implementing such measures?


Madam President,

(a) The details of incidents of suspension of fresh water supply to Sai Kung District due to main bursts and leakage from March 2004 to February 2005, including the date and duration of each incident and the area affected, are set out at Annex.

The following is a breakdown by area:

Area Affected  

No. of Cases

Sai Kung Town Centre 5
Ho Chung 16
Che Keng Tuk, Ta Ho Tun, Ma Lam Wat   17
Pak Sha Wan 4
Po Lo Che  13
Tai Mong Tsai and along Sai Sha Road 14
Villages along Clear Water Bay Road 15

The average duration of water supply suspension due to main bursts is two hours.

(b) Most of the fresh water mains in Sai Kung were laid some 20 years ago and some of them are showing signs of aging.  In view of this, the Water Supplies Department (WSD) has drawn up a plan to replace these mains.  As Sai Kung District covers a wide area, the mains carrying water to the villages may be up to a few dozen kilometres in length.  Moreover, the roads in the district are usually narrow but busy, especially during commuting hours.  It is, therefore, necessary to study in detail the traffic impacts of the replacement works so that appropriate diversions of traffic can be arranged as the works proceed.  In addition, some replacement works may take a longer time to complete because of the need to interface with other public works in the district.

The WSD started to replace the old fresh water mains in Sai Kung District in August 2003.  The replacement of the trunk main along Hiram's Highway and the main serving Po Lo Che is expected to complete in 2006, while the replacement of the main serving Che Keng Tuk Village is expected to commence in the middle of this year and to complete by the end of the year.  The replacement of old mains serving the other Sai Kung villages has been incorporated into the large-scale water mains rehabilitation and replacement programme of the WSD, which is scheduled for completion in 2009.

 Furthermore, the WSD has since last year sped up the installation of gate valves in major mains networks serving various villages in order to isolate the area affected by each main burst and minimise any inconvenience so caused to the consumers.

(c) According to the Waterworks Ordinance, the responsibility for fresh water plumbing maintenance within private premises lies with the registered consumers or registered agents (i.e. the management companies and owners' corporations).  When leakage is found in an internal plumbing system, the WSD will usually require the registered consumer to fix the defect within a specified period of time and may consider disconnecting the water supply if the registered consumer fails to do so.  For smaller private housing estates with multiple ownership and without any management companies or owners' corporations, the WSD may seek the assistance of the relevant district offices in contacting the parties concerned so that the necessary maintenance works can be carried out as soon as possible.

In case of urgency (e.g. flooding) where human lives and property are at risk or when the consumers or agents concerned fail to maintain their pipes for whatever reasons, the WSD may enter private premises to carry out maintenance on behalf of the consumers and recover the costs afterwards.  How exactly the WSD deals with the problems may vary, depending on the circumstances of each incident.

Ends/Wednesday, April 6, 2005