Tue, Nov 30, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Premier woos investors for desalination plants

CNA , TAIPEI

The private sector is welcome to invest in building desalination plants in offshore areas to help the government redress water supply problems in these particular areas, the Council of Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) reported yesterday.

The CEPD convened a meeting yesterday on the development of desalination plants on the islands of Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, where drought often occurs and where suitable sites for building dams or reservoirs are limited.

According to CEPD officials, Premier Yu Shyi-kun outlined a three-point directive to facilitate the development of desalination plants to address the water supply problem in the three areas.

In accordance with the government's plans of encouraging the private sector to take part in public construction and development projects, Yu said, private investors are welcome to build desalination plants on these three islands, adding that, firstly, they will be allowed to operate other related businesses that will help lower their overall costs in building and operating the desalination plants.

Secondly, Yu said, the desalinated water that the private investors produce will be bought back by the government at guaranteed prices. In Kinmen and Matsu, the central government will offer subsidies to the private desalination plants to make up for income shortfalls, while in Penghu, water prices will be finalized after the desalination plant investors negotiate with the Taiwan Water Co.

Thirdly, the desalination plants should be built on public lands, Yu said, adding that if no suitable sites on public lands are available, then private lands will be acquired at the government's expense.

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