Taoyuan industry crippled by ongoing lack of water supply

TAIPEI, Taiwan, The China Post Staff

Factories in the industrial county of Taoyuan are suffering “inestimable” losses from disrupted water supply which will only be partially resumed this weekend, officials said yesterday. Emergency work was already underway installing a 300-meter-long pipe to connect a backup water storage facility at Shihmen Dam to a water treatment plant in Pingchen, said Economics Minister Ho Mei-yu. Areas in southern Taoyuan, where water supply has been completely cut since Saturday because of record-high levels of mud in Shihmen water, can expect a partial resumption of supply in five days after the pipe work’s completion, said Ho. The water treatment plants in southern Taoyuan have been unable to process the murky water from Shihmen, a major dam for northern Taiwan which saw heavy rainfalls during Typhoon Aere last week. “Operations at the industrial areas have been completely stalled,” Chen Chao-yi, director of the Economics Ministry’s Industrial Development Bureau, said of the factories in the county. Chen described the losses as “inestimable” in a county which boasts the highest number of factories on the island. Industries in the county are now depending on deliveries by water trucks they hire. Meanwhile, Taoyuan County Magistrate Chu Li-lun declined a presidential invitation to accompany President Chen Shui-bian to a trip to Central America, choosing to stay behind to tackle the water problem. Legislator Lee Cheng-nan, of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, demanded top officials of the Taiwan Water Company step down over what he called a problem caused by “human errors.” He said the company should also offer the county residents a compensation of reduced rates for three months.