Hong Kong Water Cherishing Campaign to Tackle the Water Crisis

By Felix Lam 20 July, 2022

Green Council's Lam who leads water conservation movement gathering 600+ commercial sites in Hong Kong shares the why & objectives of the campaign

Water crisis approaches HK as the Dongjiang river continues to drought; Green Council & HKSAR Water Supplies Dpmt launch ECH2O campaign encouraging orgs to cherish water
600+ sites signed charters to support; Appointed employees from each site joined training workshops on water risks + got waterflow controllers for installation
Collected business activity & water consumption data, industry-specific water efficiency indicators will be developed & awards given to sites with outstanding performance

As the global population grows, demand for water continues to increase but water supply becomes unstable due to climate change.  According to United Nations, there is an estimation about a 40 per cent shortfall in freshwater resources by 2030.

Hong Kong’s daily potable water consumption amounts to 280,000 cubic metres, but local rainfall and water harvesting facilities are not sufficient to cope with it, and 70% of water is currently supplied by the Dongjiang River from Guangdong Province.

Due to climate change, Guangdong Province last year’s rainfall decreased, the Dongjiang River continued to drought, and many places implemented water supply restriction measures: time limit, quantity limit, pressure limit, etc. In view of the water crisis “approaching” Hong Kong, people in Hong Kong should start from the source by “cherishing” water.

ECH2O Campaign is a collab platform for organisations to cherish water together…

… initiatives include signing the charter, education workshops, equipment improvement & more

Non-domestic water usage accounts for about 45% of the total water consumption in Hong Kong.  Green Council, a local non-profit-making charitable organisation, is co-organising with the Water Supplies Department of HKSAR, to launch an ECH2O – Enterprises Cherish Water Campaign (2021-2022) for the commercial and industrial sectors, which creates a collaboration platform for organisations to cherish water together through different initiatives including the signing of the charter, the appointment of water cherishing manager, education & promotion, equipment improvement and recognition programmes.

More than 600 sites participated in the water conservation movement

The Campaign aims to encourage industrial and commercial organisations to set water cherishing targets, adopt water conservation measures in their business operations, and undertake to appoint at least one employee as “Water Cherishing Manager” to help promote the campaign.

The Campaign has attracted more than 600 sites to sign charters to support, including shopping malls, hotels, office buildings, commercial buildings, industrial buildings, restaurants and food manufacturing workshops, etc.

‘Water cherishing manager’ of each site joined 2 training workshops & got waterflow controllers by the WSD for installation

In order to enable the Managers to practice water conservation more effectively in their respective organisations, two training workshops were held earlier to alert water risks and the latest water conservation knowledge and technologies in Hong Kong, and distributed the waterflow controllers provided by the Water Supplies Department for installation at participating sites.

 Development of water efficiency indicators and award outstanding water cherishing organisations

 Domestic users usually can base on the per capita water consumption of each household, specified in water bills, compare their own water efficiency, however, given the different scale and nature of the business among industrial and commercial sectors, it is not effective for different organisations to use a unified water efficiency indicator.

In order to help organizations develop appropriate water efficiency indicators for benchmarking, Green Council has earlier conducted research and consultation on four major industries: shopping malls, industrial and commercial buildings, hotels and restaurants, and first determined business activity data applicable to these industries: area for shopping malls and commercial buildings, number of guest nights for hotels, and number of seats for restaurants.

Industry water efficiency indicators based on water consumption data & consultation

These data and associated water consumption will be collected to compile industry water efficiency indicators. By comparing the water efficiency indicators of the industry, the organization can understand its performance in the industry and take appropriate action to achieve better water efficiency.

In addition, Award Ceremony will also be held next year to encourage and recognise sites that have demonstrated outstanding performance in cherishing water. The winning organisations will also be invited to share their experiences and success stories in water conservation to facilitate mutual exchanges between the industries.

Promote Saving Water as Saving Money and Carbon to public

The Campaign will also hold exhibitions in the lobby of shopping malls and industrial and commercial buildings to enhance public awareness of water conservation, promote the best practices of cherishing water at work and at home, and distribute waterflow controller for take-home installation.

Water-efficient showers help save HK$5,000/yr for 4-person family & CO2 = planting 100 trees

Green Council estimated there will be a saving of HK$5000 a year from energy and water bills for a 4-person family using hot water for a 10-min. bathing after changing from traditional showers to water-efficient showers (with Grade 1 water efficiency rating). The saving of carbon dioxide is similar to planting a hundred trees.

Climate change is leading to rising extreme weather events, for example, floods and droughts. We suffered from unpredictable water availability, water scarcity and water quality contamination. Such impacts can drastically affect the quantity and quality of water that our future generation and growing population need to survive. Water cherishing solutions should, therefore, be prioritized.


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Felix Lam
Author: Felix Lam
Felix is working as Head of Sustainability at the Green Council. In this role, he leads in the promotion and advancement of sustainability through the delivery of training courses, seminars, corporate programs, awards and consultancy services. He is also the Project Manager responsible for managing a project, co-organised with Water Supplies Department, to promote water cherishing among commercial and industrial sectors. He is an experienced trainer and consultant in providing training or consultancy services in supply chain management including supply chain risk management, sustainable procurement, business ethics, etc. to different companies and institutions.
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