Stroll around the parks in Taipei, and you'll see the water fountains dry. Stop for gas and you'll find the gas station's car-washing machine lying idle.
And if you fancy a spa after Tuesday next week, you will most probably be confronted by a sign saying "Temporarily out of service."
Slowly but surely, the effects of the drought are beginning to touch the lives of everyone in Taipei, and "water rationing" is the catchphrase of the moment.
According to Taipei City officials, the water level at the Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫) -- Taipei City's main source of water -- has dropped to a record low and tougher water-conservation measures will have to be imposed if it doesn't rain soon.
"To comply with the water-rationing scheme, we are using recycled water to clean the streets and water the city's trees and lawns," Tsay Huei-sheng (
Tsay said the recycled water is coming from the city's Ti-hua Sewage Works (
"The sewage is processed before it is used to water the city's trees and lawns," he said.
As the city government looks for alternative sources of water to keep the city's plants alive, the public is being urged to use as little water as possible.
Hsu Pei-chung (
"Never pour water down the drain when there can be another use for it," Hsu said.
To be "water smart" with bathroom water, Hsu suggested avoiding flushing the toilet unnecessarily.
"And to cut down the amount of water needed for each flush, one should throw tissues in the trash rather than in the toilet," he said.
Hsu said that displacing the water in the toilet tank could also reduce the amount of water used in each flush.
"All you have to do is to fill two two-liter plastic bottles with water and put them in the tank," he said.
Hsu also encouraged the public to take short showers instead of baths.
"It is better for people to take a shower one after another so that water will not be wasted while you are waiting for it to get warm every time the water is first turned on," he said.
"While taking a shower," he added, "one can also place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water for watering plants, washing the car or mopping floors."
"To be `water smart' with kitchen water, one can clean vegetables in a pan filled with water, rather than in running water from the tap. And after you're done with cleaning the vegetables, this water can be re-used to water plants or wash the car."
Hsu advised the public not to use running water to thaw frozen food, but rather use a microwave or defrost it overnight in the refrigerator.
"Operate dishwashers only when they are fully loaded and wash the car using water from a bucket and not running water from a hose," he said.
"If everyone can do his or her bit to conserve water, we will really be helping preserve the reservoirs' water levels until the much-needed rain comes."
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