Wed, Mar 01, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Water supplies resumed

HIGH TURBIDITY Residents can now turn on the tap to get water, but some complained that the quality of the water in some areas still leaves much to be desired


Taiwan Water Supply Corp (TWSC) said that water supply in northern Taiwan was back to normal as of noon yesterday, but some residents in the affected areas continued to complain about the quality of the water.

Water supply was suddenly suspended due to high turbidity last Saturday afternoon, affecting more than 250,000 households in northern Taiwan.

As of yesterday morning, water supply to 11,000 households in the townships of Yingko (鶯歌), Tucheng (土城), and others in Taipei County and part of northern Taoyuan County, remained unavailable. TWSC had to send in trucks to provide residents with water.

Normal water services to all households resumed by yesterday noon, TWSC officials said. But they urged consumers to use water wisely during the dry winter season.

However, residents in Taipei County yesterday expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of tap water from the Panhsin Water Purification Plant (板新淨水廠).

A resident in Banciao (板橋) said during a TV interview that the tap water was so "dirty it could not even be used to wash clothes."

In response to the complaint, TWSC officials said that it would take two more days to have the turbidity further reduced to acceptable levels.

Water Resources Agency (WRA) officials said yesterday that an ongoing project to flush sediment accumulated at the gates of the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) would continue in a bid to solve turbidity problems as soon as possible.

"We are still working on the project to expel silt and sediment accumulated in the reservoir more effectively," said Chung Chao-gung (鍾朝恭), deputy director of the Northern Region Water Resources Office under the WRA.

When Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) visited Taoyuan County last Sunday to inspect the cause of the water suspension, he questioned the appropriateness of the WRA's action.

The ongoing project of expelling silt from the gates has been cited as the main reason behind the high turbidity. However, WRA officials said that this is essential for the maintenance of the reservoir, adding that the process should end next month when the rainy season comes.

According to a Central News Agency (CNA) report, water experts said that rainfall exceeded 800mm during the passage of Typhoon Aere in 2004 and Typhoon Matsa last year, triggering mudflows and landslides in mountainous areas near the Shihmen Reservoir.

"The accumulation of massive amounts of sludge caused the high turbidity of the water in the reservoir," Ho Hsin-ya (何興亞), secretary-general of the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction, said in the CNA report.

Ho said that the accumulation of silt in the reservoir also contributed to the problem.

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