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Government implements Total Water Management Programme (with photos)

The Government was actively implementing a Total Water Management Programme to protect water resources and explore new resources so as to make more effective use of Hong Kong's precious water resources, the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, said today (October 14).

Officiating at the "World Water Monitoring Day Ceremony and 40th Anniversary of the Commissioning of the Plover Cove Reservoir" at the Plover Cove Reservoir, Mrs Lam said that Hong Kong's water resources currently relied on natural rainfall and the supply of Dongjiang water. With the rapid economic growth in the Pearl River Delta Region, the demand and competition for Dongjiang water within the region had been increasing. Therefore a long-term plan on the water resources in Hong Kong should be formulated.

"This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region, which also marks the 40th anniversary of the commissioning of the Plover Cove Reservoir. Organising the 'World Water Monitoring Day' at this scenic spot, the Water Supplies Department (WSD) aims to enhance public awareness of clean water resources and give us an opportunity to review the history of the reservoir," she said.

"Infrastructure development brings about not only economic development and employment opportunities but also reflects the needs of the community," she said.

In the 1960s, water was an invaluable commodity in Hong Kong. The Government adopted the innovative idea of converting a sea inlet into a big fresh water reservoir by damming the inlet, pumping out the sea water and replacing it with fresh water. The Plover Cove Reservoir and High Island Reservoir were then built. Implementation of two large-scale infrastructure projects in the 1970s and 1990s  contributed to the progressive development of Hong Kong  into a modern international metropolis.

"The Chief Executive announced in his Policy Address that 10 large-scale infrastructure projects would be pushed ahead. The projects will not only improve our transportation but most importantly, with closer rail and road transport links between Hong Kong and the neighbouring regions, we can foster further cross-boundary integration. These infrastructure developments will consolidate Hong Kong's status as a global city and lay a new foundation for our sustained development in the future," Mrs Lam said.

Noting that water was still a precious resource, the Director of Water Supplies and Chairman of the International Water Association Regional Committee of Hong Kong, China (IWAHK), Mr Chan Chi-chiu, said: "Apart from making every effort to prevent water resources from pollution, we should also disseminate the messages on water conservation to everyone around us.

"The Government has been actively implementing education and publicity programmes to arouse public awareness of the importance and merits of saving water and to promote water conservation and the protection of water resources. The World Water Monitoring Day is one of the highlight activities," he said.

Three former engineers and WSD staff who participated in the construction of the Plover Cove Reservoir 40 years ago also attended today's ceremony. Mrs Lam presented souvenirs to thank their contributions.

The World Water Monitoring Day, on October 18 every year, is a worldwide educational activity initiated by the America's Clean Water Foundation to promote public awareness and participation in the protection of world water resources and quality. Participants from all over the world test and monitor their local water resources. Participants are required to record their findings on the World Water Monitoring day website before the deadline (December 18), ultimately contributing to a useful resource of knowledge about the world's waterways. Since 2002, more than 50 countries with more than 80,000 participants have joined the event.

This is the fourth consecutive year that IWAHK has organised the "World Water Monitoring Day" in Hong Kong to promote the idea of water conservation and water resources to students.

Today about 250 students from 30 secondary schools conducted testing on the quality of Hong Kong's water resources. Under the guidance of a chemist from WSD, the students used handy kits to carry out tests on water samples taken from the Plover Cove Reservoir.  The measurements on temperature, acidity, dissolved oxygen and turbidity are the four basic indicators for assessing water quality.

The event was co-hosted by the Education Bureau, Environmental Protection Department and Drainage Services Department. Details of the World Water Monitoring Day can be viewed on the website http://www.worldwatermonitoringday.org/.

Ends/Sunday, October 14, 2007
Issued at HKT 17:17