This report will show to
the reader that the department has continued to make good progress
in 2003/04 towards fulfilling its mission to alleviate flooding
and improve the sewerage infrastructure. I am particularly pleased
to report the achievements attained in a year during which Hong
Kong faced the unprecedented challenge of combating the SARS epidemic.
Throughout this period, our staff had not only undertaken their
duties responsibly to ensure all essential services were maintained
but also extra duties to assist the Government in winning the battle
During the year there were no serious large-scale flooding in the
NT, and the number of flooding incidents have dropped substantially
as a result of the progressive completion of critical flood prevention
projects in the past few years. In the coming years, the focus of
our work will shift to improving the secondary and local drainage
systems so as to further reduce the risk of flooding in the rural
areas of NT. Major advances
were also made during the year in completing
key components of the West Kowloon Drainage Improvement Scheme.
We expect the risk of flooding in Mongkok will be substantially
lowered once these works are completed in 2004.
To improve the sewerage infrastructure, we are continuing with the
construction of a substantial programme of works costing $7.2 billion
which includes the Shatin Sewage Treatment Works Stage III, Siu
Ho Wan Sewage Treatment Plant, Ngong Ping Sewage Treatment Plant
and the upgrading of the sewerage system on Hong Kong Island. The
completion of the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme Stage 1 in December
2001 has brought about significant improvement to the water quality
in Victoria Harbour. Since then we have carried out a number of
studies to map out the way forward for the next stage of the scheme.
Most of these studies were completed during the year and we are
now ready to consult the public on the way forward.
Looking ahead, I am hopeful that a consensus on the next stage of
the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme will emerge in the process of
public consultation. This will provide a firm basis for drawing
up the plans and moving forward the implementation of this important
sewerage infrastructure as soon as possible. As the department's
asset will continue to grow in the coming years, the challenge for
all of us will be to find ways to raise productivity so that the
additional resources needed to manage the expanding assets are tightly
controlled while at the same time satisfying the public's expectation
of higher standards of service.
I am very grateful to the staff of the department for their hard
work, ingenuity and devotion to serve the public which was so well
demonstrated during the SARS outbreak. I am also very appreciative
of the support given to us by our partners in the industry and Government.