Fri, Nov 21, 2003 - Page 2 News List

City tackles water issues

MAKE AN EFFORT Apart from improving the quality of its tap water, Kaohsiung also aims to recycle water from its sewers in order to conserve natural resources

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The recent improvement of tap-water quality in Kaohsiung will be followed by efforts to increase the city's sewage recycling rate in order to promote water conservation, Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2003 International Conference on Urban Water Conservation Technologies in Kaohsiung, Hsieh said that water-related problems were global. In Taiwan, giving consideration to both the quality and quantity of water remains a challenge, he said.

Hsieh said that in the past three years, the government spent NT$1.3 billion building three water-treatment plants near Kaohsiung to ensure quality tap water. Furthermore, construction of a link connecting the Nanhua Reservoir in Tainan County to the Kaohsiung area was completed to meet the water demands of the metropolitan area during the dry season.

"The most important work for us to do next is to promote water conservation," Hsieh said.

According to Hsieh, the ratio of families served by sewers has increased from 5.8 percent in 1998 to 30 percent. Currently, one municipal sewage plant treats 1 million tonnes of waste water a year and discharge it into the sea.

Hsieh said that the local government would adopt advanced technologies to upgrade the sewage treatment plant in order to recycle 10,000 tonnes of treated sewage water a month for watering plants and washing.

A second sewage treatment plant would be built to further promote water conservation, he said. A retention pond will also be built to preserve water collected during floods.

The conference is attended by water experts from Japan, Singapore, Germany, Australia and Shanghai. Technologies pertaining to efficient water use, rainwater harvesting and water-saving equipment were discussed.

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘) said water conservation should become a top priority because in recent years Taiwan has suffered from droughts caused by insufficient rainfall -- one of the results of global climate change.

"If we don't use water wisely, having to shift the available water supply from the agriculture sector to the industrial sector will become inevitable," Yin said.

Newly-completed water treatment plants in Kaohsiung will be opened by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on Sunday. In last week's edition of President A-bian's Electronic Paper (an electronic newsletter issued every Thursday), Chen said that the improvement of tap water in Kaohsiung was not a mission impossible. Unfortunately, former Taiwan provincial governors failed to accomplish the task.

"The difference [between the former central government and the current one] is attention paid, plans made and determination," Chen said.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), a former Kaohsiung mayor, said on Wednesday that the central government should not claim all the credit because, during his eight-and-a-half years in power, he proposed a budget of NT$4.5 billion to improve the quality of tap water and replace old water pipes and aqueducts.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tang Jinn-chuan (湯金全) said yesterday that Wu's budget proposal was not approved at the time.

The entire budget pertaining to the water quality improvement project, Tang said, was approved only in March 2001.

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