Tue, Mar 22, 2011 - Page 12 News List

No need to worry about radioactive water, official says

By Amy Su  /  Staff Reporter, with CNA

Citing the long distance between Taiwan and Japan, the government yesterday said it was not concerned about radioactive contamination in local water sources, as it sought to ease fears among the public.

“Japan is 2,000km away from Taiwan, so it would be difficult for radioactive fallout to reach Taiwan and contaminate water sources here,” Water Resources Agency Director-General Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) told a media briefing.

Frankie Chen (陳明州), assistant chief engineer of the Taipei Water Department, said the department’s decontaminating process could remove 97 percent of radioactive fallout.

“However, as worries about potential radioactive contamination from Japan grow, we have begun to extend the cleaning time and increase the number of water samples taken as a precaution,” Chen said.

Even if a reservoir is contaminated, both the department and Taiwan Water Corp (TWC, 台灣自來水公司) would suspend it and begin emergency measures to dispatch the water supply, Chen said.

“We have a typical emergency measure to deal with the lack of water, so the public does not need to be worried about it,” Chen said.

Separately, TWC yesterday warned that Taiwan could be plagued by a water shortage 10 years from now if it fails to cut water consumption and effectively contain water leakage, an executive of the state-owned company said.

Taiwan’s annual water consumption is about 17.2 billion tonnes, while its available water resources are estimated at a maximum of 18.1 billion tonnes per year, TWC chairman Huang Min-kung (黃敏恭) told legislators.

As domestic water prices have remained relatively low and have not been adjusted for years, Huang said, residents have become prone to wasting water.

Given that water resources are difficult to develop and there is no alternative to fresh water, local residents should learn how to conserve water, Huang said.

The company aimed to reduce per capita daily water consumption to 250 liters from the 259 liters recorded last year, Huang said.

He did not give a timetable for meeting the target.

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