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Drainage Services Department - Sustainability Report 2014-15

Our Core Responsibilities / A Century of Drainage Development

[Executive Summary] [Traditional Chinese Version] [Simplified Chinese Version] [Graphical Version] [Independent Assurance Statement] [Key Statistics and Data] [GRI Content Index] [Feedback Form] [Sitemap]

Sub-sections in Our Core Responsibilities

[A Century of Drainage Development] [Overview of Flood Mitigation and Control] [Overview of Sewage Collection, Treatment and Disposal]


Since its establishment in 1989, DSD has been charged with the task of wastewater treatment and stormwater drainage, protecting Hong Kong citizens against flooding and providing them with proper sewage services.

A Century of Drainage Development

2014 marked DSD’s 25th anniversary of its official establishment whereas Hong Kong’s drainage infrastructure has undergone a century of development. This section reviews the brief history of drainage development in Hong Kong.



In the latter half of the 19th century, Hong Kong adopted a ‘combined drainage and sewerage system’, using stormwater to wash away sewage into water bodies. With a population of less than 100,000 at that time, the domestic sewage did not cause substantial impact to the ecology of rivers and coast. To the average citizens, rainstorms were more of a concern than sewage discharge and in the absence of flood prevention infrastructure, stormwater runoff often posed a threat to lives.


The urban population grew at the turn of the century. In order to tackle hygienic issues arising from the combined system, the Government began to build the ‘separate drainage and sewerage systems’ in early 20th century, splitting the original combined system into two independent ones.


As time went by, the drainage system could not catch up with decades of societal development. As industry development took off in the city, factories and farms unleashed a torrent of sewage, which was often directly discharged into rivers and the sea without proper treatment. In addition, as several new towns were developed, much of the soil ground surface was covered by concrete without upgrading the relevant drainage facilities. As a result, surface runoff increased dramatically, aggravating the flooding problems.

In 1956, the first sewage screening plant was commissioned in Anchor Street, Kowloon, marking a major milestone in the city’s sewage service development.


The Government initiated a large-scale “Territorial Land Drainage and Flood Control Strategy Study”, the first-of-its-kind in an effort to formulate long-term and comprehensive plans for drainage development of Hong Kong. After extensive research, the Government decided to set up an independent department dedicated to reviewing, planning and building the city’s drainage systems. Following the recommendation of the White Paper “Pollution in Hong Kong - A Time to Act”, the Government established DSD in September 1989.

After a century of development, Hong Kong’s separate drainage and sewerage systems are now over 4,500 kilometres in length, providing quality services to the citizens. To brace for future challenges and enhance service standards, DSD continued to research and introduce state-of-the-art solutions regarding stormwater drainage and sewage treatment to get well prepared for future challenges.



[Executive Summary] [Traditional Chinese Version] [Simplified Chinese Version] [Graphical Version] [Independent Assurance Statement] [Key Statistics and Data] [GRI Content Index] [Feedback Form] [Sitemap]

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