The China Post staff
High-tech companies operating at the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park will have sufficient water to last until mid-June at least, Kuo Yao-chi, commander of the central government Drought Disaster Relief Center, promised yesterday.
Kuo, who is also chief of the Public Construction Commission, inspected Baoshan Reservoir in Hsinchu County. Baoshan is one of the few dams in Taiwan that is still almost at full capacity after huge areas of rice paddies were left fallow. She ruled against a request to use the water in Baoshan to support other areas. She pointed out that Baoshan is not a large reservoir but she guaranteed that companies at the Hsinchu science park will get adequate water supply for at least one full month even if no fresh water flows into the dam. Taipei County Government started a rotational water rationing system beginning at 4 a.m. this morning, one day after the same step was taken in Taipei City. Water supply to the several metropolitan districts of Taipei City was cut off for 24 hours starting at 4 a.m. yesterday. Close to five million people in five zones will be affected by the restriction of water supply one in every five days. The same measure will also affect 1.2 million people in Taipei County who share the water from Feitsui Reservoir with residents of Taipei City. Water for the Second Zone in Taipei covering Shihlin, Peitou, Tienmou and Shuanghsi districts of the city will be suspended until 4 a.m. tomorrow morning.
But areas of Tamsui and Pali of adjacent Taipei County will also be subject to the same measure as the water at Feitsui Reservoir continues dwindling to record low levels. Detailed plans concerning the dates and duration of water stoppage, as well as affected areas, are available at the Taipei Water Department’s Web site: www.twd.gov.tw.
When inspecting Shihmen Dam in Taoyuan County earlier, Kuo instructed local officials to seize the chance of the falling water level to dredge reservoirs that have accumulated heavy sediments. About 55.4 million cubic meters of mud and sand will be removed from the dam which hits new all-time record low levels every day. While water shortages caused by the prolonged dry spell caused inconvenience for companies and households, officials in Taichung County in central Taiwan estimated that the water shortage has damaged agricultural products, including fruit trees, covering over at 1,944 hectares of farmland. Local officials put the financial loss at over NT$172 million.
Officials in Chiayi City in southwestern Taiwan said they might have to impose a rotational regional water stoppage plan as implemented in Taipei. The other option is to cut off water supply every other day. Water levels at Nanhua Reservoir in Tainan County in southern Taiwan will drop to an alert level in two days if it doesn’t rain. The water level fell to 148.77 meters yesterday but it will not be able to supply water after the level dips to 130 meters. Officials in Kaohsiung area in southern Taiwan said that it is still too early to adopt the same measures as in Taipei City. Water supply has been reduced by about 70,000 tons every day from the normal amount of 1.45 million tons each day after the implementation of islandwide water-saving measures by the Drought Disaster Relief Center. They are still pinning their hope on possible heavy rainfalls in coming days, as forecast by the Central Weather Bureau.