26th November 2013
Dongjiang River Water is Categorised as Non-Drinkable
Hong Kong spent US$503 million this year to purchase water from Dongjiang River, but the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) of China recently categorised Dongjiang River’s water as “non-drinkable grade” which means the water from Dongjiang River is only suitable for agricultural and gardening purposes. Water Supplies Department said yesterday that the water quality of Muk Wu Pumping Station, the station that receives Dongjiang Water, is similar to that in Plover Cove Reservoir. It is also revealed that there is an overflow at Hong Kong reservoirs that retain rain water. Over 40,000,000 cubic meter of rainwater was pumped into the sea in the first ten months of 2013. In the past eight years, a total of 243,000,000 cubic meter of rainwater was pumped into the sea. Referencing to the purchase price of Dongjiang Water, a total of US$142 million worth of water was pumped into the sea in the past eight years.
SOA studied the water quality of 71 rivers this year, only four of them meet the standards of the Grade Two category, which is suitable for drinking. 50 of these rivers, including Dongjiang North River, Dongjiang South River, are in the worst five categories which means such water is only suitable for agricultural purposes. The SOA report, however, did not mention whether the pollution affects safety of the Dongjiang water supplied to Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s Water Supplies Department said that Dongjiang water goes through a series of strict procedures in water treatment plants to eliminate impurities and bacteria, and water will only be supplied to the people of Hong Kong if it matches the WHO’s standard.
Purchasing and processing a cubic meter of Dongjiang Water costs around US$1.2, whilst processing Hong Kong rainwater costs only US$0.5. Since the rainwater supply has been sufficient in the past eight years, a total of 243,000,000 cubic meter of rainwater had been pumped away from reservoirs during these years. In the first ten months of 2013, a total of 40,000,000 cubic meter of rainwater had been pumped away, which equals to half a month of total water consumption in Hong Kong.