Companies at the Hsinchu Science Park will not face an immediate threat from the government’s implementation of second-phase water rationing.
“Unless the third phase — which cuts 20 percent of water supply — comes into effect, the second phase should not pose a big threat for companies with its 5 percent cut,” Tu Chi-hsiang (杜啟祥), deputy park director-general, said by telephone yesterday.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs announced yesterday that if the next two weeks did not bring sufficient rainfall, the second phase of water rationing would be implemented in Taoyuan County, Hsinchu County and Hsinchu City, as well as Linkou District (林口) in New Taipei City (新北市) on Wednesday next week, two days earlier than originally planned.
The move would cut water supply to heavy industrial users by 5 percent, while car washes, swimming pools and sauna operators in those areas would face a 20 percent cutback, the ministry said.
The water supply for outdoor fountains and other non-urgent uses such as street cleaning, sewer flushing and washing building exteriors would also be stopped.
Miaoli County, Greater Taichung, northern Changhua County, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung would then begin second-phase water rationing on May 23, the ministry said.
Tu said companies in the Hsinchu park have been advised to take measures, including water recycling and reducing the use of air-conditioning. The park has also temporarily closed some swimming pools.
When the first phase of water rationing was implemented in March, the park administration advised companies to cut their water usage by 3 percent. About two-thirds of the firms were able to comply with the request, but the rest failed to do so because of a spike in overseas orders that kept their production lines busy, Tu said.
However, Tropical Storm Aere could bring some relief and the ministry said it would adjust its rationing measures depending on the rainfall, but contingency plans must be ready for the worst outcome.
A high-level meeting to discuss the drought will be held at the Presidential Office tomorrow.
AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) and Chimei Innolux Corp (奇美電), the nation’s two largest flat-panel makers, said on Friday that they would use recycled waste water to cope with water restrictions.
They have been recycling an average of 85 percent of wastewater, although Chimei Innolux said the recycling rate was as high as 91 percent at some of its factories.
Taiwan’s top two chipmakers, United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) said last week they would not rule out purchasing water.