Timely plum rains have significantly alleviated a historic water shortage in Taiwan, allowing water restriction measures to be lifted in some areas, while the hardest-hit areas remain on alert, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday.
“Thanks to Tropical Storm Choi-Wan, the sustained plum rains and continued water resource management efforts, the water situation in Taiwan has been greatly alleviated,” Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美華) told an online news conference.
More than 100mm of rain has fallen in the catchment areas of the reservoirs in Miaoli and Taichung counties over the past few days, Water Resources Agency data showed.
Photo: Wu Chun-feng, Taipei Times
Before the seasonal plum rains arrived late last month, Taiwan had gone almost a year without significant rainfall in the catchment areas of reservoirs.
Early this year, the nation turned to alternate sources of water, such as an emergency desalination plant in Hsinchu County and a pipeline between Taoyuan and Hsinchu, as well as emergency wells and other unconventional sources of water, to ensure industrial production continues unhindered.
Still, some areas in central Taiwan were placed under “red alert,” meaning that households and businesses received water only five days a week.
Nantou County and Kaohsiung, which were on “yellow alert,” or reduced water pressure overnight, are now back to normal, the ministry said.
Southern Changhua County and Yunlin County are on “green alert,” the lowest level of warning with no water restrictions, it said.
“Green alert” industrial users are required to reduce daily water consumption by 5 percent, it added.
Taoyuan, Tainan and Taichung, as well as Hsinchu, Miaoli, Chiayi counties and northern Changhua County, remain on “orange alert,” with water pressure reduced overnight and daily water restrictions for large users, the ministry said.
Large industrial users in these areas have to reduce daily water consumption by 7 percent, while non-industrial large users, such as car washes, need to reduce consumption by 10 percent, it said.
The water shortage was exacerbated by silt buildup in the nation’s reservoirs, reducing their overall usable capacity, the Water Resources Agency said.
The government has made maximum use of the low water levels to clear more than 10 million cubic meters of silt from reservoirs, the largest volume removed in the past few years, the agency said.
The latest rains raised the levels in many reservoirs, but did not fill all of them, meaning Taiwan is not out of the woods, it said.
With the possibility of more stormy weather, the agency is simultaneously preparing for drought relief and flood relief, it added.
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