New reservoir approved despite strong criticism


TAIPEI — Taiwan will construct a new reservoir in southern Taiwan after the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) gave its final approval to the construction project yesterday, a move that drew criticism from local environmentalists.

The Water Resources Agency plans to use the Hushan Reservoir to solve the problem of overuse of groundwater in southern Taiwan’s Yunlin County and said it will only be for residents’ use and will not provide water for several major industrial development projects in the area.

Construction of the reservoir is slated to be completed in three years.

The government had passed an original environmental impact assessment on the reservoir in 2000, and an EPA committee gave its nod to a proposed change of plans on how to channel water to the reservoir. The change became necessary to address the issue of several major typhoons that have hit Taiwan in recent years.

Critics, including some members of the committee itself, expressed concern that such a change will endanger the safety of the reservoir in the event of earthquakes.

Hsieh Shih chieh, chief of the Central Water Resources Bureau under the Water Resources Agency, said the reservoir is designed to supply water to Yunlin, as well as central Taiwan’s Chuanghua County and southern Taiwan’s Chiayi County.