Wantsai (Wanchai) Valley Dam [1886- ]

Submitted by gw on Mon, 02/23/2015 - 16:41
Current condition
In use
Date completed

date of construction is approximate.

Photos that show this Place


Viewing Wanchai District from Bowen Road 1895
Viewing Wanchai District from Bowen Road 1895, by Edmond

Edmonds photo previously posted at http://gwulo.com/atom/16901 shows the section of Bowen Road where it meets Wanchai Gap Road. The junction is seen in the bottom left of the photo where Bowen Road turns having just crossed the valley.

Although it's difficult to see what's on this side of the stone wall, the presence of what look like two water overflow outlets in its centre suggest it was a reservoir or dam. The map of 1889 at Page 162 of "Mapping Hong Kong" offers partial corroboration by labeling the area as "No.4 Tank". Today, the area has been largely filled in and converted into a garden/seating area. A stream still runs through it, but was dry when I visited.

Bowen Road
Bowen Road, by gw

The dam wall has been altered since the old photo was taken. There are now four water overflow outlets.

Bowen Road
Bowen Road, by gw


As mentioned elsewhere on Gwulo, Bowen Road runs ontop of the conduit or channel bringing fresh water from Tai Tam to the urban area. I think this is the place referred to as "Wantsai Valley" in the Surveyor Generals "Report on the Tytam Water-works" dated 1st Nov 1885 ( http://sunzi.lib.hku.hk/hkgro/view/s1886/1131.pdf ). According to the Report, "With the exception of the Wantsai Valley which it is intended to cross with a syphon of iron pipes, the water will be carried over all streams by aquaeducts of arched masonry". A check of the other side of the dam wall confirms the absence of such arches.

Bowen Road
Bowen Road, by gw

According to the Report, two options were considered for transporting the water from the Tai Tam Tunnel near Wong Nei Chung Gap to the City. One was via buried iron pipes running down the Wong Nei Chung Valley and under Happy Valley Racecourse, the other by a concrete lined conduit contouring the hillsides to Albany, above Central. Eventually it was decided to go for the more expensive conduit for three reasons. Firstly, it would outlast iron pipes that would soon rust. Secondly, by building the conduit as a series of gradually descending steps a short-term, emergency water store would be created for use if there was ever a problem in pumping the water through from Tai Tam. Lastly, "...a conduit winding along the surface of the ground is able to convert into tributaries all the mountain streams that cross its path." This last reason is consistent with the idea that this part of Bowen Road was built as a small reservoir to complement the Tai Tam Waterworks scheme..