Fri, Jun 11, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Typhoon fails to quench reservoirs in nation's south

CNA , TAIPEI

Typhoon Conson failed to bring rain for much of the parched south of the country as had been expected, as the typhoon slowly veered away from Taiwan on Wednesday, the Water Resources Agency said yesterday.

The agency, under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, was hoping the typhoon would bring precipitation to the Tainan and Chiayi regions, but since the typhoon did not make landfall on the west coast as had been forecast, reservoirs in the south were barely affected.

Reservoirs in the area still face serious water shortages, officials at the agency said.

The Tsengwen Reservoir in Tainan County and the nearby Wushantou Reservoir currently hold a combined 45 million tonnes of water, while the Nanhua Reservoir holds 47 million tonnes.

Normal civic and industrial use is expected to use 92 million tonnes of water over the next two months, Wu said, adding there isn't enough water for irrigating rice paddies.

According to Wu, irrigation for the second crop of about 18,000 hectares of farmland on the Chianan Plain -- Taiwan's leading granary -- will require approximately 300 million tonnes of water.

For the time being, the Chianan Irrigation Association has divided the farmland under its charge into eight groups, and irrigation will be carried out on a rotating basis pending future rainfall, he noted.

In the past, the amount of rainfall in June in the catchment area of the Tsengwen Reservoir averaged 500mm. Precipitation totalled 800mm in June last year.

Different regions in Taiwan have in recent years been troubled by water shortages as a result of a steep decrease in rainfall.

In 2002 and last year, Taipei, Taoyuan and Hsinchu in the north were hit hard by an acute dry spell, forcing a national anti-drought task force to impose water conservation measures on residents.

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