"Water Gathering Grounds" refer to the area where rainwater is collected via natural streams and catchwaters, and is then stored in reservoir.

Gathering ground means any surface of land — in or by which rain or other water is collected and from which water is, or is intended to be, drawn for the purposes of a supply; and which is mapped as a gathering ground under section 23.

Waterworks Ordinance (Cap. 102 of the Laws of Hong Kong)

There is about 1/3 (around 30,000 hectares) of the total area in Hong Kong designated as Water Gathering Grounds. Among the 17 reservoirs in the city, except Lower Shing Mun Reservoir, 16 of them and the corresponding Water Gathering Grounds are overlapped with the areas of country parks that are legally protected by the "Waterworks Ordinance" and the "Country Parks Ordinance".

Local water supply accounts for 20-30% of the demand. Despite of the limited percentage, it is yet indispensable to the total water supply.


Urban development and pollution play havoc with the quality of drinking water. Water Gathering Grounds, which are legally protected by the law, are well managed in the country park areas. The desirable habitats, including Fung Shui Woodland, secondary forest, grassland and the abandoned farmland, develop a panoply of wildlife species.

Plants, avian, butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles and amphibians are widely bred in the Water Gathering Grounds.

The species-rich Water Gathering Ground is considered as the local wildlife treasure trove.

Ecosystem Services

'Ecosystem Services' was coined in the 1970s, encompass both the tangible and the intangible benefits humans obtain from ecosystems.

(Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005)

Covering Water Gathering Grounds in the country park area could effectively conserve the precious water resources of the city. The designated areas of country parks are legally protected against urban development and human disturbances, sustaining the eco-richness of the environment. Besides, both water quality and capacity will be benefited by eco-richness. Visitors may enjoy themselves in the excursion with the fascinating scenery and liveliness in the natural trails and camp-sites.

Ecosystem Services, in a nutshell, suggests how human beings are benefitted from the nature. A relaxing environment with fresh air, an unpolluted and sufficient supply of fresh water, a spacious and natural area for recreational purposes, are the instances of Ecosystem Services.

Provisioning Services

Water Gathering Grounds play the active role in storing rainwater in order to sustain and stablise fresh water supply. Water collected will also be used for irrigation, offering food and economic interests to human beings.

Regulating Services

The roots of plants purify the water by absorbing chemical substances in the Water Gathering Grounds. Vegetation is a bulwark of water retention by reducing evaporation, thus, stabilising the water amount. The complex vegetative cover also plays an important role in soil retention and the prevention of landslides by moderating water flow. Reducing sediment transport could significantly mitigate siltation of reservoir.

While preying, stream-dwelling invertebrates absorb the excessive nutrients and pollutants in the water, which is essential in maintaining the water quality.

Supporting Services

Droplets fall down in the form of rain and gather as river. Water that permeates soil and flows beneath the ground is called groundwater. Through evaporation, moisture once again return to the atmosphere. The water cycle is then sustained.

Moreover, erosion takes place when water splashing the boulders along the flow. The natural process shapes the particles of soil, which is crucial to the growth of plants and the health of ecosystem.

Cultural Services

The picturesque environment of Water Gathering Grounds are perfect for recreation and relaxation. Hiking trails, mountain bike trails, campsites, visitor centres and water sports centres are the facilities you could find in the country parks. The species-rich environment is also a desirable place for scientific research.

The abundant natural resources of Water Gathering Grounds benefit human by providing supports in tourism, recreation, sports, education.