Mon, Feb 09, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Semiconductor makers face having to purchase water

Staff writer, with CNA

Semiconductor companies yesterday said they would purchase water if their supplies run short after the Lunar New Year holiday, when the government is likely to expand water rationing to counter a nationwide shortage.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s top contract chipmaker, said it would launch measures to conserve water, such as by reducing the water used in fire drills, and to clean walls and water plants.

If the water shortage continues, TSMC, United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) and Winbond Electronics Corp (華邦電) said they would purchase water to ensure that their production is not disrupted.

The government has already implemented phase-one water rationing in New Taipei City’s Banciao (板橋) and Linkou (林口) districts, Miaoli, Hsinchu and northern Changhua counties, and Taoyuan, Tainan, Taichung and Kaohsiung.

Phase-one water rationing means reduced water pressure at night, while phase two restricts supplies to consumers who usually use more than 1,000 cubic meters of water per month.

The steel sector, which is one of the largest water-consuming industries in Taiwan, said that phase two water rationing will have a limited impact on its operations, as many steel mills use recycled water during their production process.

China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼), the largest steel supplier in Taiwan, said that recycled water is expected to largely make up for the cut in water supply of 13,000 tonnes per day that the company faces as a result of the phase two water supply restrictions.

CSC said it will continue its water conservation program for non-industrial use.

Although rain fell in the past few days in northern Taiwan, it failed to boost water levels in many of the reservoirs, except the Xinshan Reservoir (新山水庫) in Keelung and the Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫) in New Taipei City. The water level of these reservoirs remained at more than 80 percent.

Meanwhile, the Yungheshan Reservoir (永和山水庫) in Miaoli, the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) in Taoyuan and the Zengwen Reservoir (曾文水庫) in Tainan have been most closely watched, as their water level has fallen to 34 percent, 40 percent and 50 percent respectively, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said.

The ministry on Saturday said it will hold a meeting tomorrow to finalize when and where phase two rationing will be implemented after the Lunar New Year holiday.

Taiwan will face stricter water supply restrictions late this month or early next month at the earliest, the ministry said.

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