The government of Hong Kong is to build a desalination plant designed to meet 5 percent of the city’s demand for drinking water after Hong Kong lawmakers unanimously approved the HK$7.7 billion (US$987 million) plan, reports Yahoo News.
Last Tuesday, at the Legislative Council’s public works subcommittee, members also pressed the government to prepare for the future expansion of the desalination plant to reduce the territory’s dependency on a river in the country’s mainland Guangdong province due to worries of pollution and strategic concerns.
However, the government rejected the plan, arguing that both sources are necessary to offset risks from climate change, especially drought, on Hong Kong’s water supply.
The $987 million-project is still to be reviewed by Legco’s Finance Committee to discuss funding.
Constructed in Tseung Kwan O, the plant is to generate 135,000 cubic metres of drinking water per day once it is completed in 2022. This amount of water would be enough for 5 percent of the city’s population.
“If there is increasing demand for drinking water in the future, we will consider the second phase, but so far we do not have any plan,” said Vincent Mak Shing-cheung, deputy secretary for development.
Once it is built, the second stage of the desalination plant would be to increase production to 10 percent of local consumption.
The city’s government has also set a target to reduce water consumption 10 percent per person.
Currently, the city's main water sources are from Guangdong’s East River, also known as Dongjiang. and rainwater collected in reservoirs.
The decision to build a plant for Hong Kong has been encouraged after reports about severe pollution in the East River were published.
Vincent Mak Shing-cheung, deputy secretary for development, said the successful bidder for the project would be in charge of its design, construction and operation. The government would provide the capital cost and an annual operation cost of around HK$300 million (US$38.2 million).