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Hong Kong - Water

It is a bit of a dilemma to provide Hong Kong with an adequate water supply for Hong Kong since it lacks underground water sources and natural lakes. Although the annual rainfall averages 2 382.7 millimeters in Hong Kong, that isn’t enough to meet the demands. In 2010/2011, the average daily consumption of potable water was 2.55 million cubic meters.

The Water Supplies Department is a government department that supplies potable water to the residents of Hong Kong. It also supplies sea water for flushing purposes which is more environmentally friendly. The two main sources of water in Hong Kong are rainfall from natural catchments and Dongjiang water from the Guangdong Province. Due to a shortage of natural storage reservoir sites, the construction of Hong Kong’s first ‘reservoir in the sea’ was at Plover Cove by damming and draining an inlet of Tolo Harbour.

The Water Authority
43/F Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Tel: 852 2824 5000
Fax: 852 2802 7333

To become a registered customer, you must fill out the WWO 1 form. This can be downloaded from the WSD’s website or picked up at one of the Customer Enquiry Centres. The application form must be turned in with a copy of your Hong Kong ID card or your passport details. The applications usually take around seven days to process and a deposit must be paid.

Bills are sent every four months rather than every month, like the electricity and gas bills are. You may pay by telephone, internet, check, or Autopay.

The water quality in Hong Kong conforms both chemically and bacteriologically to the Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality recommended by the World Health Organization and is therefore considered safe to drink. However, the water is piped in through fixtures that might be old and rusty. As a safety and taste precaution, many people in Hong Kong boil their water before drinking it. Many expats end up buying bottled water and drinking it instead. Still, the water supply is fully treated by chemical coagulation, sedimentation filtration, pH value correction, chlorination and fluoridation.

Water usage rates are structured on 4 tiers which have progressively increasing prices according to consumption. The tariff is constructed in this manner in order to encourage consumers to use water responsibly and conserve it where possible. The first tier of 12 cubic meters is free. After that, the second tier of 31 cubic meters is charged at $4.16 per cubic meter; the third tier of 19 cubic meters is charged at $6.45 per cubic meter; and the fourth tier for any consumption above the level of 62 cubic meters is charged at $9.05 per cubic meter. (As per the Water Authority’s website.)

On your water bill, you will see the amount of water consumption, the dates of consumption period, and the calculation of your bill according to the amount of water you consumed. Bills can also reflect sewage charges, the rounding of odd cents brought down from last or carried forward to next bills and a possible 5% surcharge for overdue bills.

If you have sea water for your flushing then the charge is free. If you have fresh water for flushing, you will be billed at 4-monthly intervals according to the meter readings. A building will only have one meter which will records the consumption of all the flats in that building. The first tier of 30 cubic meters per flat is free of charge and the second tier of any consumption above 30 cubic meters per flat is charged at $4.58 per cubic meter. The charges for flushing will not be included in your individual water bills. Instead, they are billed separately to the registered consumer. Normally, this would be the management office, agent, incorporated owner or development company who is in charge of your building.

If your dwelling is connected to a communal drain or a communal sewer then you will pay a sewage charge on the volume of water that is supplied. Sewage charges are billed at 4-month intervals and are calculated at $1.87 per cubic meter of water consumed.

Water pressure, if working correctly, depends on the floor or level you live on, what time of day you use the water, and if you get your water directly or indirectly from the government distribution systems. Water pressure is lower during the peak times of day. Hong Kong’s fresh water supply is soft.

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