Losses from water metering inaccuracies and theft cost Hong Kong HK$160 million in 2010


Wan Chai, Hong Kong — (METERING.COM) — November 21, 2011 – In 2010, the estimated loss of fresh water in Hong Kong arising from inaccurate metering and unauthorized water consumption totaled 34.94 Mm3, amounting to 4 percent of the total fresh water supply in the year, according to a study from the region’s Audit Commission.

The value of this loss to the Hong Kong Water Supplies Department, which supplies the region’s fresh and salt water, is approximately HK$160 million (US$20.5 million) and it is split almost equally between the two sources.

The Commission found that about 6 percent of the 2.77 million residential and small business water meters were over 12 years in age, which the WSD had previously found to be the optimal service life. Further, 30 percent of the 34,000 large water users’ meters were over 12 years.

Accordingly the WSD should expedite the replacement of these aged water meters, the Commission has recommended. Periodic reviews of the meter replacement strategy, last undertaken in 1995 and 2009 for small water meters and 1997 for large water meters, should also be conducted.

As for unlawful water taking, the Commission found that in 2010 there were 91 convictions for unlawful water taking – up more than 50 percent since 2008. Such unlawful taking is widespread, from the residential sector to businesses and building construction sites.

To address this issue the WSD should institute a regular staff training program on dealing with recognizing and dealing with suspected cases, and a program should be devised for conducting surprise inspections.

The aim of the audit was to examine the WSD’s actions taken to minimize water losses from inaccurate metering and unauthorized water consumption in the light of the company’s sustainable water management program.

Approximately three-quarters of Hong Kong’s fresh water is supplied from Dongjiang (East River) in the Guangdong Province, and is supplemented by rainwater collected from catchments in the territory. To reduce fresh water consumption, salt water is supplied for flushing in most of the areas.