Macau set to become a water saving city: Secretary Lau

Friday, March 28, 2008
Issue 296, Page 1 & 2
Word count: 798
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung in Nanning

Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Lau Si Io, said yesterday during his visit in Guizhou province’s Huaxi Reservoir that the SAR government would strive to set out a long-term outline within this year for turning Macau into a “city of water conservation”.

Secretary Lau and other nine members from the Promotional Team for Water Conservation and Water Salinity Management Group of Macau were given a site visit to Nanming River, Aha Reservoir and Huaxi Reservoir by the Water Resources Bureau of Guiyang, the capital city of China’s Guizhou province.

Huaxi Reservoir, which has a total capacity of 31.4 million cubic metres, is an integrated water hub project that comprises of flood control, urban water supply as well as power generation and environmental use of water facilities.

It is located in Huaxi River which is in the upper stream of Nanming River – the biggest river in the city of Guiyang.

During the Macau delegation’s visit to the reservoir, Secretary Lau told the reporters that one of the purposes for organising this trip to the provinces of Guangdong, Guizhou and Guangxi, apart from thanking them for providing Macau great support to help fight against salinity during the past few years, was to gain some ideas and insight into how these places tackled salinity and particularly on how to construct a “city of water conservation”.

“We’ve decided to invite some academic institutes from the mainland to conduct a thorough study on constructing a ‘city of water conservation’ and also to set out an outline so that we can progressively turn the SAR into a water saving society according to the actual conditions,” Secretary Lau said.

“This will be our preliminary direction and we’ll introduce it to the Macau people after the outline is produced which we hope will be within this year,” he added.

The Secretary said the government would not again use “bits and pieces” strategies such as in the past to deal with the issue, but would introduce a long-term, organised and progressive plan in order to achieve the goal of turning Macau into a water-saving conscious society.

During the last couple of days in the cities of Guangzhou and Guiyang, the Macau delegation had met and discussed with lots of local experts from the profession of water resources planning.

Secretary Lau said some of their experiences would be worth carrying out further research later on in Macau.

In the last two years, the Secretary said Macau had introduced some water saving measures and put a lot of effort in promoting the importance of valuing water resources.

He admitted that, however, these works had obvious room to be improved on further.

While the Secretary said progressive water tariff would be one of the most effective means of limiting the amount of water usage,, the idea was still in its infancy, as the government needed to conduct a more thorough study. Furthermore, the implementation would depend on the actual social conditions because the measures “must have to go with the future development of the SAR”, he added.

Before the progressive tariff could be made possible, Secretary Lau said they would first promote a water conservation campaign within government departments as “the previous introduction of energy-saving measures had shown valuable experiences to us”.

“Public departments and swimming pools which usually consume a large amount of water will have the priority to be imposed restrictions,” he told the reporters.

“Also, we’ll increase the investment in our sewage stations so that quality of treatment can be boosted and water can then be re-used for more different purposes,” he added.

Acting president of the Environmental Council, Vong Man Hung, who is also the team leader for water conservation promotion, said apart from the annual World Water Day campaign, they would strengthen the promotion in society and give more emphasis on the water saving aspect of the Green Hotel award program.

“We’ve long been doing an inter-schools exhibition tour on the topic of water saving and distributing CD-ROMs to the students,” Ms Vong said.

“We’ll soon produce another CD putting our past water saving posters, the theme song for ‘Water for Life’ campaign and content of the exhibition together and distribute them to some government departments as well.”

In addition, she said water saving tips would be released to the public so that people could find ways to apply them to their everyday lives.

The Macau delegation, which includes president of the Maritime Administration Wong Soi Man and member of the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) management committee Terrance Ng Peng In, had arrived in their last destination in Guangxi’s Nanning city yesterday afternoon and met with vice governor, Chen Zhangliang.

The delegation of 10 will visit the city’s flood control project this morning before returning to Macau in the late afternoon.

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