Why water rationing took place in Hong Kong?


Hong Kong people relied on the water supply from reservoirs, which was easily affected by erratic rainfall. Water rationing was even needed when there was lack of fresh water supply.


For example, there was drought since October 1928 in Hong Kong. There was record-low rainfall within nearly six months, and most of the reservoirs dried up. Therefore, the most extreme water rationing measures were imposed in April 1929. Each person was permitted to fill only two buckets (around 36 litres in total) from public standpipes, with only one chance to fill buckets in half a day.


While, the older generation could never forget the drought in early 1960s. Since mid 1962, rainfall was substantially less than the average, and reservoir storage level was declining. The government was forced to exercise water rationing in May 1963, which was further tightened. The water stored declined to about 2% of the total capacity in June. Water supply could only be made for 4 hours every 4 days. The restriction remained in force for nearly a year.


When water rationing took place, all sectors as well as the general public were all severely affected by the drought. Therefore, in addition to sole reliance on the erratic rainfall, it was important to look for new sources of water.


Source: Water Supplies Department

Image: Water Supplies Department