Lok On Pai “Desalting” Plant – further information

HF: A little more information about the Lok On Pai “Desalting” (as Desalination was called in the 1970s) Plant, Hong Kong.

Thanks to SCT for proof reading the retyped version of the original book extract.

Another important decision in the history of water supply in Hong Kong was the introduction of desalting plants. In 1971 an experimental desalting plant, which could deal with 227 cubic metres of water per day, was commissioned. The plant was designed to test for suitable sites for large-scale desalters in Hong Kong. It was also used to test materials for the construction of desalting plants and to determine the treatment necessary to make such water suitable for injection into the distribution network. As a result of this experimental desalting plant project , it was later concluded that the most suitable site for constructing a larger desalter was at Lok On Pai, and in 1972 the government decided to construct a desalting plant there. The plant was commissioned in 1977 and was able to produce 182,000 cubic metres of fresh water per day.

Lok On Pai – experimental distillation plant, 1971 Source: unknown

Since Hong Kong had been assured of an adequate water supply from China, the government designated the Lok On Pai desalting plant into a “standby resource” on 16 May 1982. In 1989 the Executive Council decided to dispose of the plant by 1991. Because of its proximity to the new airport at Chek Lap Kok, the site of the decommissioned plant was handed over to the Provisional Airport Authority in 1992 and was then used as a transhipment centre for the construction of the new airport. The government has also commenced various major water projects for the purpose of providing water to the new airport at Chek Lap Kok and to other new developments on North Lantau.

Lok On Pai

Lok On Pair Desalination Plant 1988 Courtesy: SCMP

Source: Privatising Water and Sewage Services, Pun-Lee Lam and Yue-Cheong Chan, City University of Hong Kong Press, 1997

This article was first posted on 25th February 2022.

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  3. Lok On Pai ‘desalting’ plant – 2014 HK Urbex visit and photographs
  4. Lok On Pai Desalting Plant – Water Supplies Department booklet, 1978
  5. Lok On Pai ‘desalting’ plant – site visit photographs including a great surprise!
  6. Lok On Pai ‘desalting’ plant – as Transshipment Centre used by the PAA – photo
  7. Lok On Pai “desalting” plant, aerial photos 1973, 1982 and 2013
  8. Lok On Pai “desalting” plant, 1975-1981 – mystery of non-demolition of main building

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