Water Supply in the early days of the Colony

HF: I have slightly adapted the wording in the following script.

Before British rule most locals used to rely on water from streams and wells nearby. With drastic increase in population especially in the City of Victoria a stable water supply became a pressing problem in the colony. But the colonial government was reluctant to claim responsibility for water supply. In 1860 a British national S.B. Rawling proposed to build a reservoir at Pokfulam -a valley close to the City of Victoria so that water can flow downstream. The governor Sir Hercules Robinson undertook the proposal and began construction in the same year. Between 1866 and 1871 several extension improvement projects were carried out to increase the capacity to 68 million gallons. The construction of Tai Tam waterworks began in 1873, which water from Tai Tam Reservoirs to the City of Victoria and Mid-Levels. Most public works in the early days of the colony focused on water supply to the City of Victoria. Other areas needed to rely on private water supply. Between 183 and 1895 Taiko Sugar Refinery built three reservoirs at the valley of Mount Parker and North Point for its production plant and workers’ dormitories at Quarry Bay. Ironically, sometimes during water shortages these private reservoirs’ water was shipped from Quarry Bay to the city centre.(1)

Pok Fu Lam

Pok Ful Lam Reservoir


  1. Heritage & Urban development in Pokfulam, Publisher, unknown.

This article was first posted on 3rd April 2023.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Hong Kong Water Supply – The Politics of Water Supply and Rider Main Districts (1890-1905)
  2. Hong Kong Water Supply – Pok Fu Lam Reservoir
  3. Hong Kong Water Supply – Mint Dam and other Early Structures

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