For News Room 2.
Cue material: June 23rd (Next Friday), is the expiry date for the?
For News Room 2.
For News Room 2.
Cue material: June 23rd (Next Friday), is the expiry date for the one month's notice which Hong Kong gave to China (on May 23rd) of the colony's need for more water during July. So far, there's been to answer from China, and meanwhile, with reservoir levels low, water is rationed to eight hours' supply a day. From Hong Kong, Our Commonwealth Correspondent, John Osman, explains exactly how vital is the supply of water from China to the colony:
Over the border.... Chinese province of Kuangtung. From a reservoir near the town of Sham Chun, ??? 15 thousand million gallons annualy. It's drawn by Hong Kong during nine months of the year only -- and not, usually, in July, August or September. The actual agreement, curiously, is not between Peking and London, but between Hong Kong and the Kuangtung provincial government. And that's there the request for more water's gone.
With Kuangtung behind them, two employees of the Hong Kong Water Authority whose job it is to watch the flow, discuss the problems of the present situation.
The first pumping station on the Hong Kong side of the frontier,-a paddy-field away from the border, is Muk Wu:-- built in 1960, the year when Hong Kong first began buying Chinese water. This is necessary because colony's population with refugees pouring same border. Ho Koon Kwan, a foreman Grade 2 is a key man in the water agreement; it's he who discusses with the Chinese, every month, how much water precisely Hong Kong has had.
He measures the flow on the Hong Kong side, which according to the Hong Kong measure, is regularly less than the amount which China says has been delivered. Usually, after Ho Koon Kwan has finished haggling with the Chinese side, Hong Kong pays about three to five per cent more than that measured on the Hong Kong side. 265 % of H/K's water come from China - the Chinese knows it.
He himself is trusted despite such ??? as negotiator and may soon be prompted.
The Chinese water flows a few miles to a new pumping station in a restricted frontier area, for which special entry permits have to be obtained by any visitor. This station, the Indus, has the biggest flood capacity of any pumping station in Hong Kong, some 220 million gallons a day. But there's no flood so far this year, and the river's low.
So are the reservoirs. This one, above Kowloon, is going down at a rate described by an official as "Worrying, but not yet serious." This particular reservoir is not far from the "nerve centre" at Sha Tin, of a vast new Hong Kong water scheme, called Plover Cove.
A whole new resident and expansion centre's been built for the inhabitants of six villages who've lost their old homes as the result of the Plover Cove scheme. A really breathtaking, GBP35 million project -- the biggest ever undertaken by the Hong kong govt.
In four months, 30 thousand million gallons of see water have been pumped out from behind PLOVER COVE a dam which is a mile long. There nothing there now but very deep mud -- waiting for the rain to come, for water supplies to be built up, and for reliance upon China to be lessened --
At least, there's almost nothing but mud -- plus a boat stranded right on the old sea bed, waiting, like Hong Kong, for more water.