Villages in the River Basin

Kam Tin River has a large basin, with upper courses stretching throughout Tai Mo Shan, Kwun Yam Shan, Kai Kung Leng and Tai To Yan, while its middle and lower course tributaries are found in the vicinity of Shek Kong, Kam Tin and Pat Heung.

People often aggregate at coastal areas and in river basins. Kam Tin River has an extensive basin with a well-developed transportation network and fertile farmland along its middle and lower courses. The Tangs first settled in Kam Tin in the Song Dynasty. Before Hong Kong's transformation to a port, Pat Heung had become a major settlement for indigenous villagers. There are now 42 major villages in Pat Heung, Shap Pat Heung, Kam Tin Heung and San Tin Heung, which Kam Tin River flows through.

Villages in Kam Tin Plain

Agricultural Water Supply

The government built the Tai Lam catchwater in the 1960s to increase the water supply to Tai Lam Chung Reservoir. Water in Kam Tin River was diverted to Tai Lam Chung Reservoir by the catchwater, leading to reduced flows in the middle and lower courses of Kam Tin River. Agriculture was seriously impacted and the authority built four irrigation reservoirs to solve the problem, including Upper Tsing Tam Irrigation Reservoir, Lower Tsing Tam Irrigation Reservoir and Ho Pui Irrigation Reservoir.

Tai Lam catchwater

Ho Pui Irrigation Reservoir supplies irrigation water to areas around Ho Pui.


Development of Agriculture

Since the Ming Dynasty in the 18th century, tea terraces could be found on Tai Mo Shan and Kwun Yum Shan. In the 1950s, there were many paddyfields along the middle and lower courses of Kam Tin River. Kam Tin Plain was the largest flood plain in the northwest New Territories. Its fertile clay is ideal for agriculture.

Flows of the tributaries below Tai Lam catchwater were reduced after it was built. Pat Heung's farmers responded to water shortages by starting to plant vegetables and keep poultry. In the late 1980s, there was an upsurge in the amount of abandoned farmland. Large areas of farmland were converted to housing, roads and open storage.

Many areas of farmland are still found in Kam Tin and Pat Heung

Open storage

Fisheries in Kam Tin

The 1960s and 1970s were Kam Tin's golden age of fish farming. Nam Sang Wai, Tai Sang Wai and Tai Tseng Wai were all prestigious fish pond areas. The old fish ponds were created from paddy fields or marshes, to grow economically valuable fish, shrimps, crabs or other animals.

In the late 1980s, freshwater fish imports from mainland China dealt a severe blow to the local fish market. Many lowland fish ponds were reclaimed for residential purposes. In addition, some fish ponds were dredged to build a 120 metre-wide new channel for Kam Tin River, as the narrow and meandering old channel could not efficiently drain floodwaters.

Tai Sang Wai

Country Parks

Tai Mo Shan, Kwun Yam Shan and Tai To Yan are important water catchment areas. Tai Mo Shan, Lam Tsuen and Tai Lam County Parks were designated in 1979 to protect soil and vegetation along the upper courses of streams including Kam Tin River. The country parks not only safeguard these upper courses but also the nearby habitats. Amenities such as footpaths and barbecues sites were built in the country parks.


Copyright 2010 by Green Power All rights reserved.