Consultancy works for a proposed HK$9.3 billion seawater desalination plant in Tseung Kwan O will cost another HK$154.6 million, the Development Bureau said.
The plant will contribute 5 percent to Hong Kong’s total water supply once it begins operation in 2020.
The consultancy cost will be spent on preparation of design and tender documents, site investigation works, staff remuneration and various environmental, traffic impact, geotechnical drainage and hydraulic assessments, a bureau spokesman said.
Consultants will be engaged due to the highly specified nature of the proposed review and design as well as the lack of “adequate in-house resources.”
About 50 jobs will be created for the review, design and investigation works, which are expected to begin later this year.
A Water Supplies Department spokesman said: “The construction of the plant will begin in mid-2017, and hopefully it will be completed in 39 months and finished by 2020.”
Funding requests for the whole project will be made in two rounds: the first sometime next year for the construction of water pipes, then at the end of next year or early 2017 for building the plant.
The 10-hectare site in Tseung Kwan O will ultimately produce 270,000 cubic meters of water each day at an estimated HK$12 to HK$13 per cubic meter at 2013 prices.
According to the International Desalination Association, the unit cost to produce fresh water by desalination using reverse osmosis technology ranges between HK$4.10 and HK$23.70 per cubic meter.
The need for the new plant stems from increasing water demand arising from population and economic growth, the spokesman said.
With changing precipitation patterns due to climate change and intensified competition for raw water imported from the Dongjiang in Guangdong, it is vital for Hong Kong to develop alternative resources, unaffected by the weather, to safeguard the SAR’s water security, he said.
Water from the Dongjiang is currently priced at HK$9.30 per cubic meter.