Safe food, clean water and clean air are basic needs that are fundamental to our health. However, in Hong Kong these fundamental necessities have been taken for granted for too long, while the threats to them have multiplied. Do we know how safe they are?
In most cases the quality of the water supplied by the Hong Kong government’s Water Supply Department is safe to drink even if it tastes terrible. But once the water reaches residential buildings the water is pumped to the roof and stored in water tanks maintained by the building management committee. Staffed by the building owners, many of whom are absentee landlords, the committees are often reluctant to spend any money on maintenance – preferring to react to circumstances or to be compelled by government notice.
This leads to poor water supply pipes, rusty water, low pressure and in some cases appalling and unsafe water quality.
No matter how new your building is it is important that regular checks are made of the tanks and supply pipes to every home. But the only way to secure your personal water supply is to control it yourself.
Many people do this by buying bottled water from the supermarket, or boiling tap water and cooling it in the fridge. But how safe is this really, and how environmentally friendly?
Hong Kong water comes from two sources – rainfall from natural mountain catchments, and by pipeline supply from Guangdong Province. Over the first hundred years of water supply in Hong Kong several inland dams were create as well as cisterns located at the top of hills. But with the increasing size of Hong Kong’s population and a shortage of natural storage reservoir sites led to the construction of Hong Kong’s first ‘reservoir in the sea’ at Plover Cove – the Plover Cove Reservoir.
And not before time. In 1963 and 1967, serious droughts affected Hong Kong. Our water supply was unable to support the needs of the rapid population growth of the 1950’s and early 60’s. In 1963 and 1967, there were periods when water supply was restricted to four hours per four days and people had to save water for four days’ use.
The initial scheme, completed in 1967, was created by damming, and draining an inlet of Tolo Harbour and had a storage of 170 million cubic metres. The storage was increased in 1973 to 230 million cubic metres by raising the dam. A similar but larger scheme at High Island, completed in 1978, has a capacity of 281 million cubic metres. The total storage capacity of Hong Kong’s reservoirs is 586 million cubic metres.
Dongjiang is Hong Kong’s major source of water, and will meet all future increase in demand. It has so far supplied Hong Kong with more than 11 billion cubic meters of water, accounting for 80 percent of the fresh water supplied to Hong Kong.
In 1960, the agreement was reached with the Guangdong authorities whereby Hong Kong would purchase 23 million cubic metres of water each year. The supply from Guangdong stipulated under the latest agreement was increased to 810 million cubic metres a year in 2003.
This continued to increase by 10 million cubic metres per annum up to 2004, beyond which the annual supply quantity has been subject to further review. The designed maximum capacity of the supply system is 1.1 billion cubic metres per annum. The supply contract, costing HK$2 billion a year, has helped the city’s economy grow without the interruption of water shortage, although the payment constitutes only 0.15 per cent of Hong Kong’s HK$1.3 trillion gross domestic product.
Life Solutions water is good for the environment and good for you as well as reducing the expense of water delivered to your home, office or restaurant.
With the pure clean water our advanced Reverse Osmosis systems provide you have water on demand that you can trust. And it tastes great too. But best of all it saves energy and helps make a cleaner world for everyone.
Life Solutions water removes the need for trucks and lorries to deliver water to your door, reducing the amount of pollution caused by heavy diesel vehicles delivering water. This environment cost is totally eliminated.
Most of the water delivered around Hong Kong is distilled water. This needs to be produced by heating the water and recondensing it again. Some systems use efficient heat exchange devices but there is still significant energey loss in the distilation process. Re-mineralised water uses chemicals that have been synthesised in energy intensive chemical plants and then transported to the bottling plant.
Some companies re-use the plastic containers, others use single-use plastic that needs to be recycled with significant energy input. Reusable plastic containers also need to be sterilised… one hopes.
The distillation, mineralisation, bottling and transport of bottled water is thus an energy intensive process and this takes its toll on the environment through pollution and global warming.
Help save the planet and reduce your energy foot print by choosing Life Solutions water systems.
Future conflict over water
Food and water are two basic human needs, but by 2025, water shortages will be prevalent among poorer countries where resources are limited and population growth is rapid, such as the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia. By 2025, large urban and peri-urban areas will require new infrastructure to provide safe water and adequate sanitation. This suggests growing conflicts with agricultural water users, who currently consume the majority of the water used by humans.
Generally speaking the more developed countries of North America, Europe and Russia will not see a serious threat to water supply by the year 2025, not only because of their relative wealth, but more importantly their populations will be better aligned with available water resources.
North Africa, the Middle East, South Africa and northern China will face very severe water shortages due to physical scarcity and a condition of overpopulation relative to their carrying capacity with respect to water supply. Most of South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern China and India will face water supply shortages by 2025; for these latter regions the causes of scarcity will be economic constraints to developing safe drinking water, as well as excessive population growth.
Some interesting points are made in this article Water Wars and more general notes regarding water in the Middle East is here Water.
Life Solutions water is so much better for you and the environment that it is the best choice for the supply of clean pure water to your home or office.
By making a choice to use Life Solutions reverse osmosis water systems you are saving the environment in the same way you save your body. What we put into the air is affecting our very survival by creating more CO2 we’re increasing the likelihood of climate change and damaging the health of our planet.
What we drink also has a profound affect on the health of our bodies. Vital minerals and salts are needed by our body and so distilled water which lacks these vital minerals is not healthy. Mineralised water has these salts but is often made from distilled water, a very energy intensive process which evaporates and then condenses water using large boilers.
‘Natural’ spring water needs to be packaged and trucked vast distances generating CO2 at every step along the way. Save the environment and save your health by choosing the healthy green alternative, reverse osmosis water on tap in your home of restaurant.
By making a choice and taking control of your water supply you can reduce your carbon footprint and feel great doing so – and that has got to be good for you too.
Water is vital to everyday life, and throughout history people have devised systems to make getting and using it more convenient. Early Rome had indoor plumbing, meaning a system of aqueducts and pipes that terminated in homes and at public wells and fountains for people to use.
An aqueduct is an artificial (man-made) channel that is constructed to convey water from one location to another. The word is derived from the Latin aqua, “water,” and ducere, “to lead.” Many aqueducts are raised above the landscape, resembling bridges rather than rivers. Sufficiently large aqueducts (water bridges) may also be usable by ships. They are similar to viaducts, but carry water instead of a road or railway. While a road bridge often carries the roadway at a more elevated level than the rest of the road, such a variation of height is not possible for an aqueduct.
Historically, many agricultural societies have constructed aqueducts to irrigate crops. Archimedes invented the water screw to raise water for use in irrigation of croplands. Some of the famed Roman aqueducts still supply water to Rome today.
In more recent times, aqueducts were used for transportation purposes to allow canal barges to cross ravines or valleys. During the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century, many aqueducts were constructed as part of the general boom in canal-building.
In modern civil engineering projects, detailed study and analysis of open channel flow is commonly required to support flood control, irrigation systems, and large water supply systems when an aqueduct rather than a pipeline is the preferred solution. The aqueduct is a simple way to get water to other ends of a field.
In the past, aqueducts often had channels made of dirt or other porous materials. Significant amounts of water are lost through such unlined aqueducts. As water gets increasingly scarce, these canals are being lined with concrete, polymers or impermeable soil. In some cases, a new aqueduct is built alongside the old one because it cannot be shut down during construction.
Modern water supply systems get water from a variety of locations, including aquifers, lakes, rivers, wells, desalinated seawater, and other sources. The water is then purified.
The intake from these water sources usually is through a large cage-like box designed to screen out large particulate matter before it enters the system. After it is sucked in by a pumping station or allowed in by a gravity-feed system, it is usually filtered further, chlorinated, fluoridated, and then pumped either to holding locations like water towers or reservoirs, or fed directly into the user’s spigot.
Municipalities typically run water supply systems, although sometimes this is the job of a regional supplier that has an independent governmental structure and taxing authority. Reliance on a single public provider or publicly-regulated provider reflects the fact that water supply is a natural monopoly.
Once water is used, it has to go somewhere. Typically wastewater is piped away in a sewer system, which is again almost always a service provided by the same authority as the water supply, since usage of one system implies usage of the other.
Sometimes, due to contamination by pathogens which exceeds a municipality’s ability to filter and purify its water supply, a boil water advisory may be invoked, however even this may not be enough. Boiling water may kill pathogens but not the poisons, chemicals and toxins that can enter water supplies after the supplier’s treatment process. Reverse Osmosis allows only individual water and mineral molecules to pass into the end-users water taps. Economical systems are now available from suppliers such as Life Solutions in Hong Kong that provide water as pure as mountain streams, purer if truth be told.
More information about Reverse Osmosis can be found on the Life Solutions website.