Geography and Resources Management (GRMG) Students Participated in the Yuen Long Bypass Floodway Eco Tour
Organised by the GRMG Society in 2018 summer, the eco tour was attended by a group of GRMG students who visited the San Tin Stormwater Pumping Station and Yuen Long Bypass Floodway (YLBF). The aims of the tour are to increase students’ awareness about flood control projects and drainage improvement especially the environmental-friendly drainage design. At the beginning of the tour, Lau Chun Hin Lawrence (Vice President of GRMG Society) and Wan Ka Lok (Secretary) gave a welcoming and briefing to the GRMG students so that they understood more about the background information about the above drainage facility and project.
Owing to the influence of subtropical climate and typhoon, Hong Kong is always under the threat of heavy rainstorms and flooding which can cause serious social and economic impacts. Drainage Services Department (DSD) is the governmental department that primarily provides services related to flood prevention and wastewater treatment. During the visit, GRMG students learnt from DSD engineers that the Village Flood Pumping Scheme (VFPS) is carried out to protect low-lying villages from flooding in the New Territories. In particular, floodwater pumping stations are installed in these villages to discharge the stormwater collected within the floodwater storage ponds to the nearby river channels and thus reducing the flooding risk to local villages.
In addition, GRMG students learnt how the green drainage design can be incorporated into the river improvement work. For example, the YLBF has adopted the use of gabions and grasscretes to stabilize side slopes and utilized natural substrate as the channel beds to enable colonization of flora and fauna. Moreover, the students visited a piece of artificial wetland (about 7 ha) which was created to compensate ecological loss due to YLBF in 2000s. It is planted with reeds and has some shallow ponds, providing habitats to wild birds, amphibians and dragonflies. DSD told students that over 110 bird species have been recorded in the artificial wetland. In recent years, they have also set up some bat houses to attract bats in the wetland area.
During the field trip, some GRMG students also asked the DSD engineers about the revitalisation of Tsui Ping River, which is planned to be converted from the existing nullah into an ecologically friendly river with landscaping elements while not compromising its drainage capacity. But unlike the Cheonggyecheon in Korea, people will not be allowed to carry out water activities in the river due to flooding risk. Yet, the public will be able to enjoy the river view and carry out leisure activities on the river banks in the future.
To conclude, GRMG students think that the tour is meaningful because they can get a deeper understanding about flood prevention and green drainage design enabling sustainable development in Hong Kong.
(Special thanks to GRMG Society for arranging the eco tour and preparing the above reflection.)