Mon, May 09, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Possible tropical storm may help to ease drought

Staff Writer, with CNA

A boy plays with a kite in Taipei yesterday as dark clouds move in over the north of the country, helping cool temperatures.

Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times

The nation is looking forward to the first tropical storm of the Pacific typhoon season, hoping it will bring enough precipitation to alleviate water shortages around the country.

The Central Weather Bureau yesterday said it was still too early to speculate whether Tropical Storm Aere would head directly to Taiwan and deliver a significant amount of rainfall.

The bureau said today would be the crucial day in determining the course of the storm, adding that it could issue a typhoon alert at sea if necessary.

At press time, the storm was centered 1,020km south-southeast of Oluanpi, the nation’s southernmost tip, and was moving in a northwesterly direction at a speed of 23kph, the bureau said, from 16kph earlier in the day.

Forecasters did not expect the storm to gain strength in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of -Economic Affairs said it would hold a meeting today to discuss whether stricter water rationing should be imposed on many parts of the country.

The meeting, the third of its kind to be held this year, will decide whether further water rationing measures are necessary in Taoyuan and Changhua counties and Greater Taichung, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung, which had first-stage water rationing measures imposed last month.

The need for further rationing will depend on whether Aere helps ease the water shortage, Wu Yueh-hsi (吳約西), deputy director-general of the ministry’s Water Resources Agency, said in a telephone interview.

Also yesterday, the Taipei City Government said its water conservation efforts had benefited neighboring areas as concerns over potential water shortages in the north mount.

Taipei’s efforts to save water over the past four years have reduced consumption by 280,000m3 of water per day, or 11.2 percent of the total daily water consumption of 2.5 million cubic meters.

That has enabled the city to supply more water — up to 480,000m3 per day at present — to help nearby cities cope with water rationing that began in March, the Taipei Water Department said.

Prior to the water shortage, Taipei supplied about 200,000m3 per day to Keelung and New Taipei City (新北市).

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