Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 11 News List

New water plant slated for Taoyuan

CNA , TAIPEI

The nation's first desalination plant for the provision of water for industrial use is slated to be set up at an industrial park in Taoyuan County, Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Hou Ho-shong (侯和雄) said yesterday.

The desalination plant at the Huaya industrial park in northern Taoyuan will be the largest of its kind in Taiwan and will exclusively serve industry, Ho said after attending a meeting of the Council for Economic Planning and Development.

The ministry will submit the construction plan for the NT$1.6 billion (US$49 million) plant to the Executive Yuan for approval, he said, adding that funding for the project will be allocated by the central government in a special budget.

Taoyuan County Commisioner Eric Chu (朱立倫) has promised that the county government will subsidize a price gap of about NT$4 for each water reading that the plant will generate, he said, adding that the plant is expected to begin operation in three years.

The desalination plant will have a capacity of some 30,000 metric tonnes of water per day in the initial stage, which will later be expanded to 120,000 metric tonnes.

Separately, the ministry said yesterday that the nation's gravel supply remains stable and the government has been working to diversify overseas supply sources.

Earlier in the day, the ministry held a meeting in which officials decided to step up dredging rivers nationwide. In addition, the ministry is helping organize a private-sector delegation to the Philippines to explore supplies from there.

According to statistics compiled by the ministry's Bureau of Mines, 37.47 million cubic meters had been provided in the domestic market as of last Sunday since the beginning of this year -- a level similar to the government's supply target and an increase of 2.76 million cubic meters over the previous year's level.

A government task force set up recently to tackle a gravel shortage after China banned exports to Taiwan in May has projected to supply 9 million cubic meters to meet local demand, with one million cubic meters being marketed as of last Monday.

Taiwan's gravel reserves are sufficient to maintain domestic supply for up to two months. The Bureau of Mines will step up its release of gravel with the ministry keeping a close watch on its operations, the ministry said.

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