The availability of tap water in Taiwan reached 90.9 percent at the end of last year, up 4.7 from 86.2 percent at the end of 1993, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.
DGBAS officials said that in terms of counties and cities, the availability was below 50 percent in Pingtung County, while the ratio was between 70 percent and 80 percent in Nantou, Taitung, Hsinchu and Miaoli counties and between 80 percent and 90 percent in five other cities and counties. But the remaining 15 cities and counties all registered an availability ratio of over 90 percent last year.
To improve the living conditions of urban areas and prevent water pollution, the government has stepped up the construction of sewage systems, the officials said, noting that the government invested NT$46.44 billion (US$1.41 billion) between 2001 and last year for sewage construction.
Taipei County (US$23.15 billion), Taipei City (NT$9.88 billion) and Kaohsiung City (NT$3.78 billion) accounted for nearly 80 percent of the total investment.
Statistics show that Taiwan's availability ratio of sewage systems was 10.9 percent at the end of last year, up 7.8 percentage points from the previous year. The ratio is the highest in Lienchiang County (the Matsu islands) at 67.1 percent, followed by Taipei City at 63.3 percent, and 30.2 percent in Kaohsiung County.
The officials said that the infrastructure could not be completed in one step because of limited resources, but the nation's sewage ratio was quite low compared with Japan (62 percent) and South Korea (68.4 percent), showing that there is ample room for improvement.