Sat, Jul 26, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Kaohsiung stops water supply

CLEANING UP The 36-hour suspension is necessarry for the completion of projects to ensure improved water quality in the area, which has been plagued by pollution

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A 36-hour water supply suspension in the Kaohsiung area will begin this morning to allow completion of construction of a pumping station, officials with the Taiwan Water Supply Corporation (TWSC) said yesterday.

According to the TWSC's Seventh District Management Department, the water supply in the entire Kaohsiung City area will be suspended from 9am today to 5pm tomorrow, except in the districts of Chichin and Hsiaokang.

In addition, areas affected by the unusual large-scale water suspension include 15 townships in Kaoshiung County and part of Tainan County.

"We will dispatch water trucks to remote areas in emergencies," said the department manager Yang Shui-yuan (楊水源).

Similar construction projects to improve operational water supply systems have been carried out in Kaohsiung in the last three years, because residents have complained about the water quality for years.

The Kaoping River, the main water supplier in the south of the country, was previously seriously polluted by waste water discharged from pig farms as well as the illegal dumping of rubbish.

In July, 2000, about 3 million residents of the Kaohsiung area were left without water for days after serious pollution occurred because of the illegal discharge of toxic chemical solvents into the Chishan River, which flows into the Kaoping River.

In early August, 2000, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) promised to improve the water quality in the south by the end of this year. Since then, the government has invested NT$10 billion in cleaning up the Kaoping River and installing new water-treatment facilities.

On Thursday, Premier Yu Shyi-kun inspected newly installed water treatment equipment at the TWSC's Seventh District Management Department in Kaohsiung County.

According to Chen Shen-hsien (陳伸賢), the director of the Water Resources Agency (WRA), all construction work concerning the water-quality improvement project would be finished earlier than it was expected.

Premier Yu said that after October, the water quality in Kaohsiung would be as good as anywhere else.

"The Kaohsiung residents' three-decade nightmare about bad water quality will eventually be terminated," Yu said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the WRA is removing sludge from the Chengching Lake, which covers 103 hectares of land near the management department, to prolong its lifespan.

WRA director Chen said that the dredging was a follow-up to the water-quality improvement project. With the available budget, however, the lake could only be dredged to a depth of 70cm.

By the end of this year, about 170,000 metric tonnes of sludge will be removed.

According to WRA engineers, the high level of turbidity of the lake's water increased challenges for the water supply company to ensure good water quality.

Premier Yu promised to allocate an additional NT$200 million for dredging the lake to a depth of 100cm and demanded the project be completed by the end of next year.

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