New rules to combat overcharging

April 19, 2024

The Waterworks (Amendment) Ordinance 2024, which aims to provide a deterrent effect on water overcharging by enhancing enforcement efficiency and increasing the penalty level, was gazetted and came into force today.


The amended ordinance, passed by the Legislative Council on April 10, empowers the Water Supplies Department (WSD) and the Rating & Valuation Department to exchange information when handling cases of overcharging, enabling a more effective process of inspection and handling of cases that could not be followed up in the past.


The ordinance also stipulates that reimbursement for water can only be collected from tenants after the water bill from the WSD has been issued and paid.


An offender is liable on a first conviction to a fine of $10,000, and a $25,000 fine on a subsequent conviction. Apart from the fine, those convicted must repay the overcharged amount to the tenant.


The ordinance also empowers the WSD to request the relevant person to provide information or documents, including receipts for water charges or payment records.


Any person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with the request is liable to a fine of $10,000 and a further fine of $1,000 for each subsequent day that the required information is not submitted.


A person who provides false or misleading information to the WSD is liable to a fine of $25,000 and six months of imprisonment.


From July 19, those who collect a reimbursement for water must issue a receipt containing the specified content within seven days from the payment of the relevant amount, and keep a copy of the receipt for two years. An offender is liable on conviction to a $10,000 fine.


For owners of subdivided units, the Development Bureau recommends installing separate water meters from the WSD for their tenants, letting them pay the water charges by themselves according to the separate water bills so that the owners can save the trouble of apportioning the water charge.

Back to top