The government is to demand that manufacturers consuming more than 3,000 tonnes of water per day use up to 50 percent recycled water in a bid to conserve water resources, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.
“The policy is meant to conserve the nation’s water resources and help the development of the recycled water industry amid unstable water supplies due to drastic weather changes,” Water Resources Agency Deputy Director-General Lai Chien-hsin (賴建信) told the Taipei Times.
Lai said the policy, which is to take effect next month at the earliest, is part of the Reclaimed Water Resources Development Act (再生水資源發展條例), which cleared the legislature in December last year, after Taiwan faced its worst water shortage in decades in the first half of last year.
Citing data from the Industrial Development Bureau, Lai said that the nation’s about 120 industrial parks use more than 3,000 tonnes of water per day each, with semiconductor and panel manufacturers using the most.
The policy is to mandate that an industrial park or a company that consumes more than 3,000 tonnes of water per day must use recycled water for 10 percent of its domestic consumption and 50 percent of its industrial consumption.
Businesses that fail to comply with the regulation are to be fined between NT$200,000 and NT$1 million (US$6,245 and US$31,226).
The policy would have a limited impact on Taiwan’s manufacturers, as many heavy users have already started to increase the proportion of recycled water they use, Lai said.
Companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (ASE, 日月光半導體) are good examples of companies that recycle and conserve water, he said.
TSMC uses each drop of water 3.5 times, while ASE invested NT$750 million over a five-year period ending last year to build a water-reclamation plant in Kaohsiung’s Nanzih Export Processing Zone, Lai said.
Thanks to ASE’s water recycling plant, the company was not affected by Kaohsiung City Government’s phase-three water rationing measures in the first half of last year, Lai said.
“The policy would encourage manufacturers to be more aggressive in conserving water resources and using recycled water,” Lai said, adding that it would also spur demand for reclaimed water, helping the development of the nation’s recycled water suppliers.
The policy will see the government reviewing the water usage of manufacturers and reducing the quota for their water supplies if the companies’ actual water consumption is less then their original estimates, the ministry said.
The ministry said that if a company’s actual water consumption is 30 percent less than its estimates for three consecutive years, the government would reduce its water supply quota and allocate the unused water to other companies to prevent waste.
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