WSD and industry sign Charter on Combating Unauthorised Water Uses (with photos)

The Water Supplies Department (WSD) today (March 22), together with nine associations, signed a Charter on Combating Unauthorised Water Uses, vowing to join forces against unlawful water tapping. They appealed to the public to report any related illegal practices.

The charter-signing ceremony was witnessed by the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on the Quality of Water Supplies, Professor Ho Kin-chung. The nine associations signing the Charter were the Hong Kong Construction Association, the Association of Consulting Engineers of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Federation of Electrical and Mechanical Contractors, the Hong Kong Licensed Plumbers Association, the Hong Kong Institution of Plumbing and Drainage, the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering - Hong Kong Branch, the Hong Kong Plumbing and Sanitary Ware Trade Association, the Resident Site Staff Association and the Hong Kong Water Works Professionals Association.

The associations pledged to call on their members to pay attention to any abnormalities in the water supply system during their daily work, and to be aware of the sources of water supply at construction sites; if they suspect any illegal plumbing connection, they should report it to the WSD. The associations will also disseminate the message of combating unauthorised water uses to their members, and remind them of strict compliance with their professional codes. Relevant information will be provided to help the members ensure that water is obtained through legal means.

The Director of Water Supplies, Mr Ma Lee-tak, said, "'Stealing water' usually takes place inside consumers' premises. The action may be temporary in nature and thus difficult to be discovered at times. The WSD has been adopting a two-pronged approach - detection and prosecution, and publicity and education - to combat illegal sourcing of water.

"Last year, the WSD sent letters to all property management companies in Hong Kong urging them to properly maintain the water supply systems inside the buildings under their management and to prohibit any unauthorised water uses. We have also requested government departments that are responsible for the management of premises and construction sites to assist in combating unlawful water uses. Any suspicious cases should be reported to the WSD immediately. We will provide training on collecting evidence for prosecution for the staff of these government departments."

In addition to signing the charter, the WSD displayed exhibition panels at Maritime Square, Tsing Yi, today to appeal to the public not to take water illegally and to assist in combating unauthorised water use. The exhibition highlighted the potential risks of unauthorised water use:

(a) Fresh water can become polluted when fresh water tanks are connected to flushing water tanks, for example, and could be detrimental to consumers' health;

(b) The fire services system can be affected. For instance, if insufficient water is left in the fire services tank due to unauthorised use, there may be an impact on the proper functioning of fire services in times of fire. The consequences could be serious; and  

(c) Illegal use of fresh water to flush toilets can squander precious fresh water resources.

Under Chapter 102 of the Laws of Hong Kong (Waterworks Ordinance), unlawful taking of water is a criminal offence. An offender shall be liable on summary conviction to a maximum fine of $25,000 as well as a charge for the water so taken. Any person convicted of the offence shall, if it is a continuing one, be liable to a further fine of $1,000 for every day during which the offence continues.  

If members of the public suspect any unauthorised water uses, they should call the WSD enquiry hotline (2824 5000) immediately to report the case.

Ends/Thursday, March 22, 2012
Issued at HKT 18:38


The Water Supplies Department (WSD), together with nine associations, today (March 22) signed a Charter on Combating Unauthorised Water Uses, vowing to join forces against unlawful water tapping. Speaking at the charter-signing ceremony, the Director of Water Supplies, Mr Ma Lee-tak, introduced how the WSD has combated unauthorised water uses.