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HK and Shenzhen's joint effort completes regulation of Shenzhen River

The Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, said the smooth completion of Stage III of the Shenzhen River Regulation Project represented the results of joint effort between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and Shenzhen governments over the years.

"It is particularly gratifying that the completion of the project falls on the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. This historical day bears special significance and commemoration to all the people of Hong Kong," she said.

Officiating at the completion ceremony for Stage III of the Shenzhen River Regulation Project, one of the celebration events for the 10th Anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR, today (April 24), Dr Liao said the third stage of works was the most complicated and technically difficult among the three stages and affected the most cross boundary facilities.

Besides the improvement of four kilometres of river channel, the third stage of works involved the reconstruction of Lo Wu Railway Bridge, Lo Wu Old Pedestrian Bridge, Man Kam To Vehicular Bridges and two Dongjiang Water Mains.  All these important cross-border facilities had to operate as normal during the construction period.

Taking Lo Wu Railway Bridge as an example, she said this was the only railway link with the Mainland, carrying both passengers and freight traffic. "We chose to build a temporary bridge during reconstruction so as to maintain normal railway operation. With the relentless effort of all involved, not one train missed the schedule due to the reconstruction throughout the works period."

Dr Liao pointed out that apart from flood prevention, the regulation of Shenzhen River had important impact on the environment, transportation and economy of Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

"After the training works, the river banks are now tidier and the channel is deeper.  The ecology and environment have also been improved when compared with the messy river course before.

"I hope this good environment can be maintained so that residents on both sides can benefit.  The completion of Shenzhen River Regulation Project ensures transportation between the two places without interruption by flooding, enables infrastructure projects to proceed steadily and creates the favourable conditions for economic development in the two places," she said.

Describing this year as a bumper year for Hong Kong-Shenzhen co-operation in infrastructural projects, Dr Liao said other than the regulation of the Shenzhen River, the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Corridor and Sheung Shui to Lok Ma Chau Spur Line were scheduled to become operational in mid-2007, enhancing the convenience and efficiency of cross boundary traffic between the two places.

Speaking at the completion ceremony, the Director of Drainage Services, Mr Wong Chee-keung, said that the project consisted of three stages and mainly involved straightening, widening and deepening the 18-kilometre river channel.  After completion, the flood protection standard would be raised to one in 50 years return period.  

Mr Wong said that with the completion of the first two stages of works in 2000, the improved river channel of downstream of Lo Wu effectively prevented serious flooding in the vicinity and greatly improved the livelihood of residents on both sides.  

Coupled with the regulation of Ping Yuen River on Hong Kong side, the completion of the third stage of works has resolved the flooding problem in Ta Kwu Ling area. The discharge from Shenzhen Reservoir will no longer lead to flooding.

"The past experience of waist-deep flooding on both sides of Shenzhen River during rainstorm will become part of history," Mr Wong said.

Shenzhen River is the boundary river between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, and drainage outlets of various rivers in the two places.  As the regional flooding in these river catchments and reducing the flooding risks in the northern and northeastern New Territories and Shenzhen can only be alleviated after training of Shenzhen River, a joint working group for the Shenzhen River Regulation Project was set up in 1992 for the task.

The first stage of works was to straighten the Lok Ma Chau bend and the Liu Pok bend, while the second stage of works widened and deepened the remaining sections from the Liu Pok bend to the estuary.  Costing $1.1 billion, the two stages of works were completed in April, 1997, and June, 2000, respectively.

The third stage of works, started in December 2001, was to widen and deepen the section upstream of the Liu Pok bend to the confluence with Ping Yuen River. The construction costs of $560 million for all works were shared between the two governments.

Mr Wong thanked all the units involved in the planning, design and construction of the project, personnel from both governments as well as the various boundary offices on both sides for their effort and cooperation over the past years, which enabled the smooth completion of the works.

Also officiating at the ceremony today were Deputy Mayor of the Shenzhen Municipal Government, Mr Lu Ruifeng; Deputy Secretary General of the Shenzhen Municipal Government, Mr Chen Yutang; Director of Shenzhen Water Resources Burueau, Mr Jiang Zunyu; Director of Shenzhen Environmental Protection Bureau, Ms Guo Yurong; the Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works (Works), Mr Mak Chai-kwong; and Deputy Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works (Works), Miss Janet Wong.

Ends/Tuesday, April 24, 2007