Pipeline leak cuts water to 30,000 households in Shichih

The China Post staff

A pipeline leakage led to a temporary suspension of water supplies to some 30,000 households in Shichih area, Taipei County, yesterday.

According to local media reports, water supplies to Shichih were resumed in the afternoon,but only after hundreds of tons of water had been wasted. The rupture was spotted on a 80cm connection point in a water pipeline delivering water to Shichih from Keelung, according to the United Evening News. Water started to spurt out of the leak at 600a.m. yesterday, and drenched the entire surface of the highway beside, flooding the motorcycle lane to a depth exceeding 10cm.

The water bureau cut off supplies to Shichih at 700a.m to allow repairs to be carried out.

The incident happened at a time when the Taipei area is suffering its worst drought in decades.

A rotational water suspension scheme was put in place more than a month ago in an attempt to prevent local reservoirs from eventually running out of water.

Under the current scheme, water supplies to an area will be cut off for one day after every five days of continues supply. The Taipei City government has said the present five-day rationing system will continue until June 12 at least.

A drought task force will decide June 12 whether to impose a stiffer three-day rationing system.

City government spokesman Wu Yu-sheng said the decision depends on rainfall brought by a front the Central Weather Bureau predicts will affect the island June 12-14. In response to questioning from city council members, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou said the rainfall from June 1 until last Thursday has added 47mm, equivalent to 1.4 million tons of water to Feitsui Reservoir, the key source of water for the Greater Taipei Area.

Ma said the imminent front should bring sufficient water to supply the area until September. Taipei City has cut off water supplies to swimming pools, and car wash operators, as well as spas and saunas. As a result many workers at these places have found themselves temporarily unemployed. Ma has suggested that the Cabinet-level central anti-drought center should offer financial relief to these employees. Please see WATER on page

Ma proposed to dispense NT$15,840, the minimum monthly wage in Taiwan, to the employees to sustain their livelihoods during the crisis.

Last week, the Cabinet-level relief center ended water restrictions in the Chiayi area which had been in place since April 18. Kuo Yao-chi, executive general for the center, said Jenyitan and Lantan reservoirs had taken in more than 10 million tonnes of water, allowing restriction measures to be lifted.

While northern Taiwan is facing a serious shortage of water, central and southern parts of the island are warned of possible mud slides following recent torrential rains.