According to a recent report, more than 11,000 plastic bottles were collected on Hong Kong beaches in the past year, most of them of disposable drinking water. What a shame most of us would say! Did you know there are many drinkable water sources around us? Winnie and Yi Feng go around and tell us where are some of the notable free water sources around us on the HK Island.
Interesting Cultural Fact 😊: We are relatively lucky in the water department in Hong Kong SAR. Why? That is because we can get water for free in the streets whereas just across the Victoria Harbour waters in Macau SAR, you can only get water in casinos.
But, Casinos are generally not very generous with handing out water either, as In Canto/ Putonghua, water (pronounced as “shui” 水) means money. So logically we shouldn't expect casinos or gaming shops to hand out "shui" for free 😂😂!!
Chater Garden public water fountains. Check the signs to make sure it’s been disinfected recently
In Hong Kong, we rely on the Water Supplies Department of Hong Kong SAR government to filter water from Guangzhou or from a few water reservoirs. Water service is heavily subsidized by the government and there is little incentive to develop its own water supply from seawater filtration, unlike our neighbouring Singapore or to privatize the water supply in order to have better water conservation and better maintained pipes unlike in Macau.
High Island reservoir in Sai Kung built in 1976
Drinking water fountains are maintained and checked regularly. You can check when the water filter and ultra violet tube were last changed according to the notice stuck to the side of most water fountains.
Notice of when the ultra violet tube for killing germs in the water fountain was last replaced
The prize for most artistic water fountain is the vintage one in Hong Kong park commemorating 150+ years of the history of Water Supplies Department in Hong Kong. It’s positioned right next to the tea museum.
Vintage water fountain at Hong Kong park
For newer water fountains, they usually feature a tall and short one in parks in Hong Kong so that children and adults alike can use them easily. Some nice ones will cool refreshing water can be found along the Central waterfront promenade at the Kennedy Town section.
For distilled water without the tap water taste, go for the hot and cold water fountain in Tai Kwun prison cell area. A good place to get your cup noodles or hot chocolate fix too😁 . There are also free or cheap water dispensers available in Ikea Causeway Bay and at the Central piers.
Water dispensers available in Ikea Causeway Bay
A rule of thumb is that water fountains can be found inside mainly public sports centres and government buildings, Hong Kong parks or waterfront promenades and some MTR stations (still at testing stage). Some shopping malls now provide free water at their food courts (like in Times Square City’super food court) or inside their malls like in Hysan shopping in Causeway Bay. Fast food restaurants like Maxim’s, McDonald’s provide hot and cold water dispensers.
An easy way to find free water is to download the Water for Free app which shows the free water spots near you. Please help to report the water spots to the app so others can get free water too. For those poorly maintained public water fountains, don’t hesitate to report to government hotline: 1823, cite Water Supplies Department then leave a message citing the serial number and location of the fountain. That way, the next users can quench their thirst.
In conclusion, the HK government provides lots of sources of drinkable water around us. Let's enjoy this luxury (yes a luxury in many other countries) and make the most of it. Finally, don’t forget to bring your personal water bottle and Say NO to BOTTLED WATER!