Fri, Jul 25, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Hot weather hurting water supply

By Chiu Yu-tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The recent heat wave has dramatically lowered water levels at northern major reservoirs, but it won't lead to stricter water conservation measures anytime soon.

Officials at Taipei Feitsui Reservoir Administration said yesterday that only 33mm of rain has fallen there this month, a drop in the bucket compared to the 552mm that fell during the same period last year. As of yesterday, there have been 11 days with no rain.

The water surface at the reservoir reached the 144.8m level yesterday. Officials said the water level has been decreasing by 30cm a day.

"However, we don't think water supplies to the residential sector will be affected before the end of August," Yau Shung-ruey (姚祥瑞), secretary of the resevoir administration, said yesterday.

Yau said that the operational lower limit for the reservoir was 141m level.

Meanwhile, Shihmen Dam in Taoyuan County gained 9mm from rainfall yesterday. The water in the resevoir amounts to just 35 percent of its capacity.

Counties in northern Taiwan remain in the first stage of water-conservation measures, which means water pressure is reduced overnight.

Taipei has been suffering through a heat wave induced by the passage of Typhoon Imbudo, which hit the Philippines on Tuesday before heading toward Hong Kong and southern China .

Officials at the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday that the high temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday could be attributed to effects created by the peripheral circumfluence of the typhoon.

On Wednesday, a record high for this year of 38.5?C was registered in Tamshui.

The high temperatures and thunderstorms yesterday afternoon in Taipei, however, were not from the typhoon, just typical of a summer day, said Yeh Tien-chiang (葉天降), director of the bureau's Weather Forecast Center.

Forecasters said that temperatures in the north yesterday remained very high, ranging between 30?C and 36?C.

They said there was a 30 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms today in the center and north of the country.

Yesterday in Taichung City, sudden thundershowers in the afternoon forced Taichung Airport to shut down for two hours.

The city's flood control mech-anisms also swung into operation after several tunnels in downtown Taichung were inundated by water.

One taxi driver had a narrow escape after his car was suddenly submerged as he drove through a tunnel.

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