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Poor Water Qaulity Hong Kong

John Herbert, hong kong energy saving expert, BEAM expert
John Herbert

Poor water quality is a commonly found feature in Hong Kong buildings.

poor water quality
poor water quality

It happens because drinking water quality is one of many responsibilities its hidden, and often taken for granted, a result of mixing roles and responsibilities in real estate sector. In the past, a building would have dedicate housekeeping staff to take care of the building, but lost to cost cutting.

The water service (fresh drinking water) is vital, and actaully under the sole control of the building owner (or building management company). Although, the water meter may be located near the consumer, in Hong Kong the Water Supplies Department responsibility stops at the lot boundary, therefore all the piping, valves, and pumps, water tanks AFTER the lot boundary are under the building owners responsibility.

One reason for poor water quality could be the water pipework, the Water Supplies Department (WSD) permitted the use of ferrous metal piping (known as GI pipe) for fresh water in buildings commissioned before 1994. GI is a steel pipe with coating of zinc.

However, the coating fades, particularly at screwed type joints, exposing the underlying steel pipe to water, obviously causing serious internal corrosion, and increasing the shedding of the zinc coating inside the pipe.

Although good quality potable water (fresh water) may be provided by the Water Supplies Department up to the lot boundary, beyond and inside the boundary is sole resposibility of the developer, and late passed over the building manager. After the water meter is installed WSD will never re-visit a premises.

poor water quality hong kongKelcroft site checking reveals water quality problems

This loophole means after the water meter is installed and operating, non-approved fixtures and fittings can be purchased and installed.

Often brand new sinks and water taps can be found in construction waste bin, temporary, installed only to demonstrate compliance to obtain the water meter. Afterwards, fancy fixtures and fittings without approvals could be installed.

A Water Management Plan (WMP) is a solution, it is a routine investigation checking your water service, conducting water sampling, checking water tanks are cleaning, checking maintenance frequencies, with an action plan to respond to defects, and list remedial work, if any, for entire the water system.

poor water quality hong kong
site checking identified dead leg water fixture not used and not flushed

Water Management Plan (WMP) Process

The procurdure to create a Water Management Plan (WMP) for an existing building would reference acknowledged standards where possible, and include:

  1. Document Review
  2. Site Review
  3. Bespoke WMP

The water management plan (WMP) content should cover the basics, frequency of inspection, water sampling, reporting, record keeping, and the like, with a WMP auditing procedure for periodic review of the WMP.

The best time to prepare a plan is before a crisis, once you have a plan in place, you may be on leave or out of town on business, but you have piece of mind that your know your staff have a plan to follow.

Kelcroft's John Herbert, BEAM Water Use panel past chairman, has thirty years experience designing and auditing buildings, and crafts bespoke water management plans for building owners.

For a quotation call us today!

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kelcroft consultants hong kong