Water rotation begins in Taipei

The China Post staff

Central areas of Taipei will have to go without water for 24 hours today as the city government tries to make depleted reservoir supplies last longer. As a result of drastically reduced rain fall over the past few months, the Taipei City Government went ahead with plans to implement a five-day rotational program aimed as saving water consumption yesterday. Under the program, the greater Taipei metropolitan is divided up into five sections, with each section having to go without water once every five days. City officials say the water rationing scheme will help to save up to 330,000 tons of water a day. Such savings could postpone a drying up of the Feitsui Reservoir, Taipei’s major source of water, by a total of 49 days if no rain is forthcoming. Taipei Water Department Director Tsai Huei-sheng said that a water rationing might have to be introduced on a three day rotation by as early as this Saturday if the situation at the reservoir does not improve. As of yesterday, water levels at the reservoir fell to 128.17 meters, a new record low, despite scattered rainfall on Saturday, Tsai said. But even in the event of rain, water rationing will be kept in place until the threat of a water shortage is past, he added. Starting today, water will be cut off to the districts of Chongcheng, Tatung, and Wanhua between the hours of 4:00 a.m. Monday morning and 4:00 a.m. the following day. During that same period, water will also be cut off to parts of the Sungshan, Hsinyi, and Ta-an districts west of Keelung Road and areas of the Chungshan district south of the Keelung River. The Shetze Island in Shihlin will also be without water for all of Monday. A second round of rationing for these areas is scheduled for this Saturday. Beginning Tuesday morning, water will cut off to Shilin, Peitou, Tamsui and Pali in Taipei County for 24 hours. On Wednesday, rationing measures will hit Neihu and areas of Chungshan north of the Keelung River. At the same time, Taipei County’s Sanchung, Hsichih, Luchou, and Hsinchuang will also have their water supply cut off. Nankang and areas of the Sungshan, Hsinyi, and Ta-an districts east of Keelung Road will go without water on Thursday. Taipei County’s Chungho, Yungho, and areas of Hsichih will also be affected on the same day. On Friday, rationing will be shifted over to Taipei’s Wenshan district and the areas of Hsintien, Ankeng, Hsinwu, and Shenkeng in Taipei County. According to city estimates, the first day of cuts will affect some 4.8 million city residents. Still, Tsai warned residents against storing excessive amounts of water, saying that doing so would only waste water. According to Tsai, most residents in areas affected by the measures should not feel any effect. Most apartment buildings in the area are equipped with water towers that can store enough water to meet the needs of residents for a single day, Tsai said. Anyone in need of water can also apply for an emergency water shipment by dialling 8733-5678 and requesting a delivery, he said. Please see WATER on page

The city has plans to send shipments of water to hospitals in areas affected by the rationing to make sure they are able to give patients the treatment they need, city water officials said. In related news, Central Weather Bureau officials said that northern and eastern Taiwan can expect rains starting on Tuesday. Government weather forecasters say the weather system currently headed for Taiwan could bring between four and five days of much needed rain to the region. Rainfall is expected to come in the form of afternoon showers, and meteorologists say that Taiwan could see some heavy downpours later this week.