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China's Hong Kong launches action plan for enhancing drinking water safety

The government of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) launched on Thursday an action plan for enhancing drinking water safety, aiming at further safeguarding drinking water quality in the region through a "multi-pronged approach."

The action plan comprises five components, each on different aspects such as drinking water standards and enhanced water quality monitoring programme, plumbing material control and commissioning requirements for new plumbing installations, and water safety regulatory regime, the HKSAR government said in a press release.

It aims at further enhancing drinking water safety in Hong Kong in a comprehensive manner, it added.

The plan was developed by the HKSAR government's Development Bureau and Water Supplies Department after they appointed expert consultants to study the experience and practices of drinking water safety in other countries and took into account the advice of the International Expert Panel on Drinking Water Safety, which was set up in June, 2016 as one of the government's follow-up actions after the incident of excess lead found in drinking water in 2015.

Under the plan, the Water Supplies Department will enhance the existing water quality monitoring program by collecting random water samples annually from consumers' drinking taps for testing. The first stage of the program will test the existence of six metals, namely antimony, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead and nickel, that could be present in internal plumbing systems.

The collected data on local water quality will form the basis for assessing the appropriateness of adopting standards beyond the guidelines set by the World Health Organization. The enhanced program is targeted to commence before the end of December.

The plan also includes strengthening the regulatory control of plumbing materials, promoting the implementation of water safety plans for buildings to property owners and property management agencies, as well as enhancing publicity and public education on the safe use of water. (Source: China Daily)