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Urban Drought pp 241-262 | Cite as

Urban Water and Health Issues in Hong Kong

  • Emily Ying Yang Chan
  • Janice Ying-en Ho
Chapter
Part of the Disaster Risk Reduction book series (DRR)

Abstract

A basic necessity of health is the provision of a safe, harmless, reliable, accessible and affordable water supply. In cities, community well-being and public health protection rely heavily on the integrity and reliability of lifeline infrastructure that supports water supply and sewage systems. Hong Kong is a city in south-eastern China, which hosts seven million urban inhabitants. It is characterized by being one of the most densely populated vertical cities globally with the highest number of high-rise buildings that exceed 150 m. Public health and community well-being are extremely sensitive to water availability in this city. Although the city has its own rainfall catchment and reservoir system, 80% of its lifeline water supply is imported from Dongjiang (the East River) of Guangdong Province of mainland China via a dedicated aqueduct. Any industrial accidents that might lead to river pollution in its neighbourhood community and breakdowns of lifeline water-related infrastructure (water, sewage pipes, and electricity which drives all the water pumps in Hong Kong’s 300 plus ultra-high-rise buildings) would bring major urban public health crisis. In addition, as a dengue fever-prone coastal metropolis, stagnant water management and water quality of its beaches, marine and rivers are all significant to human health. This chapter discusses and examines the health risks associated with water resources management (drinking water supply, sewage management and environmental water issues). Three cases (water pipe lead pollution crisis in 2015, the potential impact of climate change on rainfall and vector-borne disease, and the disaster risks associated with the current water drainage infrastructure) are included to illustrate the vulnerability and urban resilience towards water issues in this urban context.

Keywords

Urban health Health risks and impact Water supply Sewage management Environmental water issues Hong Kong China 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Global Health and Humanitarian Medicine, Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary CareChinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.International Centre of Excellence for Collaborating Centre for Oxford University and CUHK for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response (ICoE-CCOUC), Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR)Hong KongChina
  3. 3.WHO Thematic Platform for Health Emergency & Disaster Risk Management Research Network, World Health OrganizationGenevaSwitzerland

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