Fri, Jan 30, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Heavy water users get less

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A limit will be placed on water supplies for heavy water users in northern Taiwan beginning Feb. 6, as recent rains failed to lift water levels at major reservoirs, the Water Resources Agency (WRA) announced yesterday.

At a meeting held by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) to address the impending water shortage in the north, officials decided to reduce water supplies for heavy users to 80 percent in Taipei City and Taipei, Taoyuan and Hsinchu counties. Heavy water users include those who run saunas and car-washing services.

Meanwhile, water supplies to the industrial sector will be reduced to 95 percent.

"The water limit will be effective on the day after the Lantern Festival. And by the end of May, no stricter water conservation measures should be announced in the north," said Chen Shen-hsien (陳伸賢), WRA director-general.

Chen said that these measures would not affect residents' daily lives or industrial development and estimated that regular water consumption would be 3 percent to 5 percent lower.

Chen said that most firms in the Hsinchu Science Park would not be affected by the new measures because they had already been taking water conservation measures for weeks.

According to the MOEA, agricultural land nationwide to be left fallow from Feb. 1 would amount to 65,000 hectares -- the largest amount left fallow in the nation's history.

Yesterday, at least 20mm of rainfall was measured in Hsinchu, where residents are experiencing the worst drought in the last 10 years. According to the Central Weather Bureau, cold fronts arriving in the following week might bring abundant rainfall to Taiwan.

Water resources officials, however, urged residents to use water wisely because recent rains in the north failed to lift water levels at major reservoirs.

As of yesterday, the water level at Feitsui Reservoir in Taipei County was 154m, while that at Shihmen Dam in Taoyuan was 214m -- both lower than needed for normal water distribution.

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