Shek Pik Reservoir construction – 2 submerged villages and 262 displaced villagers

HF: “Across a valley, where village life has been unchanged for 400 years a dam has been built; on an island where until recently there was scarcely an automobile now runs a modern road and to the people of Hong Kong a major step forward has been made towards providing an adequate water supply…

..the consultants chose a large valley in the south-western part of Lantau Island. In the centre was the small village of Shek Pik and its 200 inhabitants. A smaller village, Fan Pui, with its population of 62 people, stood at one end of the site which the consultants planned for the earth dam.

Shek Pik village submerged under reservoir clipped old woman in sedan chair

Caption: This 86-year-old woman was one the 200 residents of Shek Pik village

When the engineers first met these villagers there was hardly a road on Lantau Island. Their homes were older than many of the mainland settlements and their way of life had remained unchanged throughout the years. Some had never seen a motor car before and one old woman of 86 had never left her village.

Now, while a fleet of tractors, earth moving equipment, excavators and dumper lorries were being assembled the people of Shek Pik and Fan Pui were asked if they would move their homes.

Shek Pik village submerged under reservoir clipped

Caption: This temple at Shek Pik is all that remains of the village which once stood on the site of the dam. As the water level in the dam rises the temple will be completely submerged.

The villagers of Fan Pui wanted to remain in the area, and so, a completely new village was built a few miles from the dam, designed to meet their special wishes. Those in Shek Pik however, elected to move to the mainland and in place of the 105 acres of land they had occupied they were offered flats and shops in new buildings at Tsuen Wan. The amount of compensation given to the villagers and the cost involved in resettling them totalled $3,255,000.”

This article was first posted on 24th March 2016.

Source: Shek Pik Water Scheme, PWD, November 1963

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