Mon, Aug 15, 2005 - Page 3 News List

MOEA may form special water panel

NO WATER The ministry said it was considering taking action to `facilitate coordination' during future crises, in a move sure to relieve Taoyuan residents

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) is considering forming a special panel to "facilitate coordination" in the event of future water supply crises, Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥) said yesterday.

Ho made the remarks after presiding over a meeting to review the recent water supply problem in the northern county of Taoyuan, where residents suffered many days of water shortages after Typhoon Matsa brought torrential rain, silt and debris into the Shihmen (石門) reservoir -- the county's main drinking water supply source -- increasing turbidity to the point that filtration systems were unable to cope.

To prevent future recurrences, Ho said, the panel will be charged with coordinating relevant government agencies to tackle future water supply problems in the wake of typhoons or other natural disasters.

The panel will be headed by a vice minister of economic affairs, with the heads of the Water Resources Agency (WRA) and state-run Taiwan Water Corp (TWC) as key members, Ho said.

"In the future, the panel must strengthen contact and coordination among relevant government agencies at all levels in addressing water supply problems amid typhoons or other disasters," Ho said, adding that the panel will be required to draft a comprehensive package of measures to improve handling of post-disaster water supply crises.

Legislators from the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said yesterday that TWC owes an apology to everyone, because the state-run company rarely makes a self-examination, but often brings up the idea of increasing water prices.

According to TSU caucus whip Legislator Mark Ho (何敏豪), in the past month, the passage of three typhoons have affected water supply systems in not only northern Taiwan, but also the south.

"Residents in the counties of Taoyuan, Taipei and Kaohsiung have been affected by the high turbidity of river water, which is a long-term problem that the company cannot effectively tackle," Ho said.

Ho said the company always shifts blame onto others and has never brought up any emergency measure to tackle high turbidity problems.

The overlapping of managing water resources between the company and WRA has been a trigger for malfunction of adjusting water resources during emergency time after the passage of typhoons.

PFP caucus whip, Lin Hui-kuan (林惠官) said yesterday that both TWC and WRA had to learn lessons from recent water restriction crisis in Taoyuan.

"Governmental officials should stop blaming others in order to seriously review existing management over water supply systems as soon as possible," Lin said.

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