Following is a question by the Hon Wong Yung-kan and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (March 18):
Regarding the implementation of the scheme to supply water to remote villages in the New Territories, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the current number of villages in the New Territories which still do not have supply of treated water, and when the Government plans to complete the entire water supply scheme for remote villages;
(b) whether it has any plan to carry out water supply projects in Tung Lung Chau; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(c) of the existing measures to ensure that villagers of remote villages have, before the water supply scheme is completed, access to potable water which meets hygienic standards?
The Government is unable to provide some remote villages with treated water because they are far away from the existing water supply systems. To extend the water supply systems to these villages will be very costly. Given the very low population of these villages, cost-effectiveness is an important consideration to justify such extension works. Currently, the villagers get water from nearby streams or wells for potable use. To ensure that the water is suitable for drinking, relevant government departments monitor the water sources and conduct tests to verify water quality regularly.
My reply to Hon Wong’s question is as follows:
(a) Currently, 19 remote villages in the New Territories do not have supply of treated water. Upon consideration of the cost-effectiveness of water supply projects and the availability of nearby water sources for consumption by the villagers, the Water Supplies Department (WSD) has not set any schedule of supplying treated water to all these remote villages. The WSD, however, will continue to monitor the situation and will review at appropriate times the need for supplying treated water to the villages.
(b) Tung Lung Chau with less than 20 residents is one of the 19 remote villages. It is more than one kilometre away from the existing water supply system. A submarine main will be required for supplying treated water. As mentioned in paragraph (a), the WSD has no plan for the time being to extend treated water supply to Tung Lung Chau in view of the low cost-effectiveness of such extension works and the availability of nearby stream water for consumption by the villagers.
(c) To ensure that water from the sources near the remote villages is suitable for consumption, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department regularly monitors the water sources. It collects water samples once every three to four months for water quality tests by the WSD, once every three months for chemical analysis by the Government Laboratory and once every month for bacteriological examination by the Department of Health. All the test results over the past few years show that water from the streams or wells near the villages is potable if boiled.
Ends/Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Issued at HKT 14:28