The Secretary for Works, Mr Kwong Hon-sang, today (Friday) signed a loan agreement on modification works on the Dongshen Water Supply Scheme with the Director of Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Water Resources, Mr Guan Zhongzhi.
" Under the agreement, a loan of HK$ 2,364 million will be provided to the Guangdong Provincial People's Government to help fund the construction of an HK$ 4,100-million closed aqueduct system to supply Dongjiang water to Hong Kong and Shenzhen," a spokesman for the Works Bureau said.
"The provision of the loan has been endorsed by the Chief Executive in Council and was then approved by the Finance Committee of the Provisional Legislative Council on April 3," the spokesman said.
"In return for the loan provision, the Guangdong Authority has agreed to reduce by 560 million cubic metres (mcm) the amount of water to be purchased by Hong Kong from 1998 to 2004 in the face of the slow growth in demand in recent years," he said.
"The interest foregone under the loan agreement will be offset by the total recurrent expenditure savings of HK$ 2,240 million as a result of reduced purchase from Guangdong during this period," he added.
Works on the project will begin at the end of this year and are scheduled for completion by the end of 2002 to help resolve the quality problem of Dongjiang water.
Under the agreement, the loan will be drawn in eight equal, half-yearly instalments, starting in December 1998. Repayment will be made in 20 equal yearly instalments, starting in 2003 or upon the commissioning of the completed works, whichever is the earlier.
Today's signing ceremony followed the ninth annual business meeting on water supply to Hong Kong under the Dongjiang-Shenzhen Water Supply Works. During the five-day meeting, a brief account of the preliminary modification works was given by the Guangdong delegation and the progress of the protection of water quality was discussed.
The two sides also exchanged an English and a Chinese versions of the newly-published souvenir book "Dongshen-Hong Kong Water Supply Scheme --- A Summary on the Exchange of Experience and Co-operation between Guangdong Province and Hong Kong" in which inscriptions from both sides were marked.
"The book summarises the working experience of both sides in the design and construction of waterworks facilities in the past 36 years," said the spokesman.
"This valuable experience was gained from the projects under the Dongshen Water Supply Scheme, the construction of the reception facilities in Hong Kong and the operation and management of water transfer," he added.
"It will be extremely useful to new engineers of this project and other experienced administrators," the spokesman said.
"The souvenir book will soon be available at public libraries," he added.
End/ Friday, July 10, 1998