Water supplies to 150,000 households in northern Taoyuan County affected by urgent water rationing measures on Wednesday will be back to normal this evening, following completion of an emergency plan to adjust water allocation in the region's reservoirs, the Water Resources Agency said.
At around 10pm on Wednesday, water supplies to 150,000 households in Luchu Township (蘆竹) and Taoyuan City were suspended after unacceptable levels of turbidity appeared in the water coming from Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫), a major water source for northern Taiwan. The problem was caused by an ongoing project to flush sediment accumulated at the dam gates.
Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Hou Ho-shong (侯和雄) held an emergency meeting at 2am yesterday to discuss solutions with the agency and the Taiwan Water Supply Corporation (TWSC).
Agency director-general Chen Shen-hsien (陳伸賢) told the Taipei Times yesterday that the emergency plan had filled the gaps in supply, which amounted to about 120,000 tonnes of water.
Chen said 85,000 tonnes of water for irrigation have been redirected to affected areas in Taoyuan. Meanwhile, water supplies to areas in Hsinchu County have been re-allocated to Taoyuan. Affected areas in Hsinchu were temporarily supplied with water from Yunghoshan Reservoir (永和山水庫) in Hsinchu County.
By yesterday afternoon, the water supply to affected areas in Taoyuan had returned to normal. However, the turbidity remained higher than 8,000 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU). NTU is a measure of the clarity of water with a normal level of 1,000. Agency officials expected that the turbidity would fall back to normal levels by this evening.
"There's no water crisis. The project to flush the sediment at Shihmen Reservoir will continue until April. If we don't do it now, then it will be much more serious during the rainy season," Chen said.
The reservoir was at 54 percent of its capacity yesterday, its lowest level in two years. WRA officials said that recent scarcity of rain also contributed to increased turbidity.
Taoyuan has been increasingly subject to restrictions after typhoons because of unacceptable turbidity levels caused by massive amounts of silt from mountainous areas being flushed into the reservoir.
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