Tainan, Kaohsiung see ‘upgraded’ phase-2 water rationing

By John Liu, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — As the state of water shortage continues in Southern Taiwan, an ��upgraded version�� of second-phase water rationing is set to kick-start today in Tainan and Kaohsiung. It means water cut to industrial users will be hiked from 7.5 percent to 10 percent. The measure is meant to stave off phase-three water rationing in the two cities, said Vice Economics Minister Yang Wei-fu (�����j). Yang downplayed the potential impact of the ��upgraded�� rationing, saying that most firms have water storage facilities that can be tapped to meet short-term demand. The industry will be able to cope with the rationing, he said. The rationing was deemed necessary as the flow of the Gaoping River (���̷�), the main source of Kaohsiung’s water supply, has seen significant declines. The current flow of 10.2 cubic meters of water per second pales in comparison to levels in past years. According to weather forecasts, sunny skies will persist in the area for the next few days. The river’s flow may further decline but not by a substantial amount, as earlier rainfall had infused the river with some water. In an effort to alleviate drought, the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) will collaborate to carry out cloud seeding when conditions allow. Shihmen Reservoir at under 25 Percent of Full Capacity Phase-three water rationing was launched a week ago in Northern Taiwan, where some residents of New Taipei City, Hsinchu and Taoyuan faced water cut five days a week.

The Water Resources Agency (WRA) under the MOEA said a reduction in water use along with precipitation brought by last week’s monsoon has put a stop on Shihmen Reservoir’s (�۪����w) falling water levels. As of 9 a.m. yesterday, the water level was pegged at 220.06 meters, and the reservoir now sits at 24.92 percent of its full capacity, slightly higher than 24.58 percent recorded a week ago. Water hold also rose from 49.7 million cubic meters to 50.03 cubic meters. The Shihmen Reservoir’s water outflow registered at 1.37 million cubic meters last Tuesday, the eve of phase-three rationing. Water outflow fell to 600,000 cubic meters on the first day of the rationing, and then rose to 1.13 million, 1.21 million, 1.11 million, and 955,600 cubic meters of water, before climbing up 1.43 million on Monday. While outflow exceeded inflow on some of those days, the WRA said actual use was not as substantial, as a great proportion was channeled to storage pools. Two Other Reservoirs The Yongheshan Reservoir (�éM�s���w) in Miaoli County also witnessed a rise in water level, which currently registers at 69.11 meters. The reservoir now uses 27.9 percent of its full capacity. The water level in the Zengwen Reservoir (�������w), which lies on the border of Tainan and Chiayi, dipped to 198.17 meters, however. The reservoir uses only 19.5 percent of its full capacity.