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Located in the central New Territories, Shing Mun River originates from Tai Mo Shan at an altitude of 930m, making it the river with the highest headwater in Hong Kong.
The river’s upper course remains mostly natural, with the area playing an important ecological role. With dense vegetation cover and excellent water quality, it is home to a wide variety of freshwater creatures, such as the Hong Kong Newt, Broken-band Hillstream Loach, and Long-armed Shrimp. Meanwhile, Upper and Lower Shing Mun Reservoirs, situated in the upper section of Shing Mun Valley and Shing Mun Gorge respectively, collect water that contributes to the city’s drinking water supply.
The lower course of Shing Mun River includes Sha Tin, previously known as Lek Yuen. Endowed with a plentiful water supply and fertile soil, people settled and farmed there as early as the Ming Dynasty; and many historical buildings, including Che Kung Temple and Tsang Tai Uk, can be found in the vicinity.
In more recent decades, the lower course and estuary of Shing Mun River have undergone drastic alterations due to large-scale reclamation and channelisation works to facilitate the development of Sha Tin New Town. The latter includes an artificial channel that flows through the town centres of Tai Wai, Sha Tin, and Fo Tan. Many high-rise buildings have also been built on both sides of the river.