Shek Pik Reservoir – Construction

Tymon Mellor: The Shek Pik reservoir is part of a larger scheme to supply Hong Kong Island with a water supply through submarine pipeline from Lantau Island. The reservoir has a capacity of 24.5 million m3 with a direct catchment of 7.8 km2but with the completed catch waters the catchment area is expanded to 53 km2 or 40% of the area of Lantau Island.

The dam was designed by Binnie & Partners and constructed by Dragages, their second project in Hong Kong after the runway extension to Kai Tak airport.   Shek Pik Scheme

The dam is constructed of earth fill up to 55m high and required around 4.8 million m3 of fill. The upstream slope is protected from wave action by rock rip-rap and the downstream slope is protected from rain erosion by turf. The cost of the reservoir was around HK$3,3 million (at 1964 prices).

Shek Pik Dam Cross Section

Following site preparation, a grout cut off curtain, up to 70m deep was installed to prevent water passing below the dam. Work then commenced on the main dam in October, 1961. Working 19 hours a day, six days a week placement of the bulk fill was substantially completed within 21 months. By July, 1963 4.2 million m3 or 87% of the total fill had been placed and compacted.

Shek Pik Site Layout

Problems were encountered with the natural material found on site that had been intended to use in the dam construction, and to avoid a major delay the unsuitable alluvium material was replaced with 0.6 million m3 of imported sand. During the later stages of construction of the embankment, cracks were identified in the dam core. Following investigations it was concluded these were as a result of settlement of the foundations of the dam. The cracks were grouted and monitoring indicated negligible water leakage.

Shek Pik 1963

Shek Pik Complete Structure

Impounding and filling of the reservoir began in 1963 and was complete after the 1964 wet season.

In addition to the reservoir construction, there was the construction of an extensive catch waters network and transfer tunnels to supply the reservoir.

This article was first posted on 11th February 2014.

Shek Pik Dam by William Johnstone Carlyle – Resident Engineer for the Works
Institute of Civil Engineers Paper 6841, presented 27th April 1965

Thomas Ngan adds: I wonder if the by-product of this construction should also be mentioned. South Lantau Road, Silvermine Bay vehicular ferry pier, etc.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Shek Pik Reservoir – Tai Long Wan resettlement village for some displaced residents
  2. Shek Pik Water Scheme, HK Government Report, 1963
  3. Construction and Opening of Shek Pik Reservoir, rare French film 1962
  4. Shek Pik Reservoir – Tai O Road construction link to end of Tai O salt production
  5. Dragages Hong Kong – first HK projects, Kai Tak runway extension and Shek Pik reservoir




  • Thomas Ngan

    Hi there,

    I wonder if the by-product of this construction should also be mentioned. I mean, the South Lantau Road, Silvermine Bay vehicular ferry pier, etc.

    Thanks & Best Regards,

  • Hugh Farmer

    A good point Thomas

    I’ve added your comment at the end of the article.

    In my original article, Shek Pik Reservoir, I mentioned:- Construction of the reservoir also saw that of the South Lantau Road which runs across the top of the dam and brought vehicular access to Tai O for first time.

  • Rico Lee

    Just encountered a rare short documentary in about the “French technology in the Far East” on featuring aluminum production plant in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, construction of Shek Pik Reservoir (from 1:53), and Jatiluhur Dam in Indonesia (–the result of French involvement. The Shek Pik-related part was clipped and reposted by Save Lantau Alliance ( to rally support against development of Lantau Island

  • Charles Reading

    Who was Charles L. Shank and what was his connection to the construction of the reserviors?

  • Sorry I have not seen any reference to Charles L Shank in any of my reservoir research

  • Charles F Reading

    The reason I ask is that I have a very large format book with professional photographs documenting the construction of the Shek Lai Pui Service Reservoir, the AberdeenUpper Reservoir and photos of various buildings and sites around HK with hand written captions generally addressing construction. The cover of the book has the name Charles L. Shank embossed in center. I imagine he was some sort of construction supervisor?

  • Charles Reading

    Email me is fine

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