Integration of seawater and grey water reuse to maximize alternative water resource for coastal areas: the case of the Hong Kong International Airport

Water Sci Technol. 2012;65(3):410-7. doi: 10.2166/wst.2012.768.


Development, population growth and climate change have pressurized water stress in the world. Being an urbanized coastal city, Hong Kong has adopted a dual water supply system since the 1950s for seawater toilet flushing for 80% of its 7 million inhabitants. Despite its success in saving 750,000 m(3)/day of freshwater, the saline sewage (consisting of about 20-30% of seawater) appears to have sacrificed the urban water cycle in terms of wastewater reuse and recycling. Can seawater toilet flushing be applied without affecting the urban water cycle with respect to sustainable water resource management? To address this issue, we examined the entire urban water cycle and developed an innovative water resource management system by integrating freshwater, seawater and reclaimed grey water into a sustainable, low-freshwater demand, low-energy consumption, and low-cost triple water supply (TWS) system. The applicability of this novel system has been demonstrated at the Hong Kong International Airport which reduced 52% of its freshwater demand.

MeSH terms

  • Airports*
  • Environment
  • Fresh Water / chemistry*
  • Hong Kong
  • Recycling* / economics
  • Recycling* / methods
  • Seawater / chemistry*
  • Toilet Facilities
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid / methods*