Transcript of remarks by Secretary for Transport and Housing cum Chairman of Hong Kong Housing Authority

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Transport and Housing (STH) cum the Chairman of the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) , Mr Frank Chan Fan, at a media session after the HA informal meeting this afternoon (September 21):
Reporter: Secretary, only around 200 samples will be drawn from public housing estates according to your estimate, would that be really enough? How would you address concerns among public estate households over the lead content in their water, and also, any plans to further extend the programme in water sampling?
Secretary for Transport and Housing: First and foremost, I think we have to understand that potable water in Hong Kong is generally safe and sound for drinking, so what we are now doing is to ensure if there is any exceptional situation, then we can still detect it and make remedial action. So, we are not talking about the potable water in Hong Kong is of poor or unhealthy condition. That’s the very first step that we have to consider. If the potable water in Hong Kong is safe and healthy to be drunk, then I don’t see any reason why we have to do such an extensive examination of the sample.

Reporter: Do you think there is a need to make it compulsory as your colleague just explained that there have been difficulties in getting the approval from the households themselves to get changed the pipes and also maybe upcoming there could be resistance when it comes to letting people in to draw water samples? Do you think the need to make it compulsory?
Secretary for Transport and Housing: That comes to the same point, because if the potable water in public housing estate is safe and healthy to be drunk, what is the point for us to mandate the occupants to allow us in just for the sake of the pipe replacement. So we have to strike a balance between the imminent need compared to safety, convenience and self-choice in terms of pipe replacement. We are not talking about a very dangerous or unhealthy situation in terms of potable water. We are talking about a generic survey or inspection of the piping and the condition of the water that we are going to drink, and that is to be drunk by people staying in all sorts of buildings. If that’s the case I don’t think we should make a scare to let Hong Kong people afraid of drinking our own water because the quality of potable water in Hong Kong is indeed very good.

 (Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Thursday, September 21, 2017
Issued at HKT 23:00