Hong Kong has hired US-headquartered engineering firm Black & Veatch to help it create space inside a mountain to store water currently held in two reservoirs, freeing up four hectares of precious land.
The move comes as Hong Kong, which is experiencing a severe housing shortage, investigates "rock cavern development" more generally as a way of easing pressure on its squeezed surface area.
Black & Veatch said yesterday it had been appointed to investigate, design and supervise the construction of the caverns, which would replace the Diamond Hill fresh water and salt water reservoirs.
The site under consideration for the caverns is slopes near the Lion Rock mountain (pictured) north of the Chuk Yuen housing estate in Kowloon, according to a government briefing paper released in March 2018.
It said an investigation would study the impact of blasting in the area, plus other environmental considerations, and added that the two reservoirs now take up four hectares.
Black & Veatch has built rock caverns before in Hong Kong. It won a Chamber of Commerce award in 2010 for freeing land for the University of Hong Kong by putting the Western Salt Water Service Reservoirs in a hillside.
"Enhancing land resources is critical to Hong Kong’s success," said Andy Kwok, managing director for Black & Veatch Hong Kong. "Housing service reservoirs in caverns is a technically viable alternative that can increase land supply."
Black & Veatch will be involved in designing tunnels, caverns and associated works for the new cavern reservoirs.
Image: Northern part of Kowloon Tong with Lion Rock in the background (Wpcpey/CC BY-SA 4.0)