Wed, Nov 26, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Water row splits Taipei City, County

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

As southern Taiwan enjoyed its improved tap water, Taipei City Government and Taipei County Government yesterday accused each other of using the water issue for political ends.

Taipei City Government rebutted Taipei County Commissioner Su Tseng-chang's (蘇貞昌) accusation that the city government "intentionally" delayed construction on the fifth water-treatment plant in Chitan (直潭), Taipei County, which will help purify Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫) when completed.

"Taipei City Government's inefficiency has seriously impacted the daily life of Taipei County citizens," Su said on Monday.

"The city government promised us that it would finish the construction in November. It later notified us that the completion date would be delayed until next May," Su said.

He added that although the Feitsui Reservoir is situated in Taipei County, only one third of Taipei County citizens get their water from it.

"The last thing I would do is blame the delay on politics. But I don't want the interests of Taipei County citizens to be sacrificed by the postponement," Su said.

City government spokesman Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) yesterday hit out at Su's accusation of feet-dragging and pointed to the efficiency of the government's recent fire-control reform.

"Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has inspected nearly 100 lanes and streets around Taipei City that might hamper fire-fighting efforts in light of the blaze in Taipei County's Louchou," said Wu.

"I suggest that Commissioner Su doesn't worry about the water issue but pays more attention to fire control."

Kuo Ray-hwa (郭瑞華), director of the Taipei Water Department under the city government, said that the construction delay was due to an August landslide that damaged water pipes.

Kuo said that the construction team was working day and night and that it was impossible for them to delay the project on purpose.

"It is unfair to say so. Sometimes the progress of construction is subject to change," Kuo said.

He added that the city government had been supporting Taipei County's water consumption during the drought and had provided the budget for the projetc's construction.

"I urge Taipei County officials not to take advantage of the water issue to alienate the relationship with citizens," Kuo said.

Su yesterday responded to the city government's criticism and said that drinking water directly affects people's lives and that politicians should not waste time arguing about things that were not helpful to the project's construction.

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