Wed, Sep 01, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Taoyuan demands water supply

THREAT The Taoyuan County commissioner warned the premier that he and other locals would protest at the Executive Yuan if their water problems were not addressed

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Residents line up to receive rations of drinking water in Chungli City, Taoyuan County, yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

Thirsty Taoyuan County may have its water supply fully restored by Wednesday next week.

But about 320,000 families living in the south of the county are still without water, while a rationing program has been in force in the county's north since last Thursday, when Typhoon Aere shut down all four of the county's water treatment plants.

Inspecting a water treatment facility in Pingchen Township yesterday, Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) declared the county a disaster area, seeking to placate county residents. Protesters outside the Pingchen water treatment facility demanded water and hurled eggs to vent their anger.

Displeased with the central government's handling of the issue, Taoyuan County Commissioner Chu Li-lun (朱立倫), of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), yesterday said Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥) should step down if the problem was not cleared up by Friday.

"This is the seventh day that the residents of southern Tao-yuan haven't had tap water and we still aren't getting any answers from the government," Chu said. "The minister of economic affairs should step down and take full responsibility if residents in the south of the county don't have water by Friday."

Ho, who apologized on Monday to Taoyuan residents for the inconvenience they were experiencing, promised to complete the installation of a temporary water pipe diverting cleaner water from the surface of Shihmen Reservoir by Friday. Water at the base of the reservoir has remained murky since last week.

Chu was speaking yesterday in the company of Premier Yu Shyi-kun, who was in Taoyuan to hear the grievances of locals at the Pingchen plant. Yu had excused himself from the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) Central Standing Committee meeting and came to Taoyuan after Chu criticized him earlier yesterday for allegedly showing little concern for the county.

"If the government doesn't get the water going again, I'll mobilize county residents and stage a protest outside the Cabinet building and demand answers," Chu said. "On top of that, I'll ask for compensation from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Taiwan Water Corporation."

Once the water main at the Pingchen plant is installed, Ho said that the facility would process 300,000 tonnes of water a day. Ordinarily, the facility provides 600,000 tonnes of water a day to southern Taoyuan. The daily water demand of southern Taoyuan is 700,000 tonnes.

The county's three other water treatment plants -- Lungtan, Shihmen and Tanung -- had experienced similar problems and were shut down on Thursday.

A water rationing measure was then imposed in northern Taoyuan on Friday after the Tanung plant resumed operations. The rationing is expected to end next Wednesday. The daily water demand of northern Taoyuan is about 400,000 tonnes.

In addition to the woes of residents, the industrial sector has suffered a blow. Losses at Chungli and Kuanyin industrial parks are estimated at over NT$700 million.

Uni-President Enterprises Corp's manufacturing plant in Yangmei was also forced to shut down its production line, causing a daily loss of about NT$30 million.

A factory belonging to Compeq Manufacturing Co in Tayuan was also forced to stop operating, while its Tachu plant has reduced production volume.

Beverage maker Hey Song also closed down eight of 10 production lines at its Chungli plant.

This story has been viewed 3715 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top