The small but populous British crown colony of Hong Kong depends for almost all of its supplies on outside sources.
The small but populous British crown colony of Hong Kong depends for almost all of its supplies on outside sources. But now it finds itself cut off from a major lifeline - water. It has just been through its worst drought for 90 years - and the water-shortage is beginning to take hold.
SYNOPSIS: The people of Hong Kong are surrounded by water but the irony is that they're suffering a severe water-shortage. The population grows so rapidly that all plans to provide them with enough drinking-water are outdated by the time they're implemented. New reservoirs are constantly being built, but many more are needed. And now the ones that have been built are only half full.
The colony has one Japanese built desalination plant. It's kept constantly running at full capacity turning out drinking-water from the surrounding ocean.
But it just can't keep up with the frequent droughts.
Another source of drinking-water is mainland China, which pipes 25 per cent of Hong Kong's water needs from Canton. This is least a steady source, but it needs to be supplemented by the colony's own resources. Hong Kong's four-and-half million people use 262 million gallons (1,190 million litres) of water a day. So with the present low reservoir levels following the drought, water-rationing has been instituted.
Even tourism - Hong Kong's third largest currency-earner after electronics and textiles - has been affected, and tourists as well as the general population can only get water from their taps for eight hours during the night. During the sweltering daylight hours they have to make do with beer, whisky and gin and tonic. The authorities have predicted that more severe rationing is on the way. Private swimming-pools have had water-supplies cut off, but, the public-pools are staying open - at least, for the present.