The local yield of fresh water in Hong Kong is inadequate and unreliable with significant fluctuations. Coupled with a population boom and the rise in exports, the demand for fresh water in Hong Kong has been growing since the 1950s. Confronted with the challenge, Hong Kong has been importing Dongjiang water from Guangdong Province since 1965 to meet local water needs.
Photos: Guangming Daily
Back then, the Central People's Government decided to supply water to Hong Kong under very difficult circumstances, considering its own economic hardships. Approved by then-premier Zhou Enlai, the Dongjiang-Shenzhen Water Supply Scheme was designed in 1965 to supply water to Hong Kong, and granted a special fund. In that year, the scheme supplied 70 million cubic meters of water to Hong Kong, and its severe shortage was ended. With a stable supply from Dongjiang, Hong Kong has enjoyed an uninterrupted water supply since 1982.
In the years since its went into effect, the accumulated water supply of the Dongjiang-Shenzhen Water Supply Scheme has reached more than 50 billion cubic meters, of which 25.5 billion cubic meters of water had been delivered to Hong Kong by the end of June 2019. The scheme accounts for over 70 percent of Hong Kong's total fresh water, making an important contribution to the people's livelihood and economic growth of Hong Kong.
What many may not realize is that Guangdong authorities have exerted huge efforts to maintain the quality of the Dongjiang water supplied to Hong Kong, even at the expense of its own economic development. A series of measures were adopted to prevent contamination of Dongjiang water, including the construction of a dedicated aqueduct and a comprehensive remediation project.
Close cooperation on the scheme has been maintained between the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Guangdong Province through an institutional mechanism with mutual respect and the spirit of cooperation. After nearly a decade of planning and argumentation, a new water allocation project in the Pearl River Delta is going to be introduced in 2019 to guarantee the water supply to the region and inject new sources of economic growth into the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
(Compiled by Zhang Tong)