he Council for Economic Planning and Development has decided to postpone plans to construct a reservoir in Yunlin County owing to environmental concerns, a council official said.
The council approved the changes to the Hushan Reservoir (湖
However, the reservoir's construction, originally intended for completion in 2008, has now been extended to 2014 in order to protect the habitat of the blue-winged pittas, the official said.
The council also decided to reduce the project's budget from NT$22.6 billion (US$669 million) to NT$21.3 billion.
The council attaches great importance to environmental conservation, the official said, adding that it had commissioned National Chung Hsing University to conduct research on the protected species.
The official said that the Environmental Protection Administration, the Council of Agriculture and Yunlin County Government would seek a consensus on the issue.
Construction and conservation agencies hold different views on the issue, which has delayed construction, the official said.
When completed, the reservoir is expected to supply 694,000 tonnes of water every day to meet water demand and help solve the land subsidence problem.
Although Yunlin County is located downstream from Jhuo-shuei River (濁水溪), the water quality is so poor that it can only be used to irrigate local farms, the official explained.
As a result, 250,000 tonnes of water is being extracted from underground every day for residential and industrial use, the official said.
In some parts of the region, the groundwater has been found to contain toxic substances such as arsenic and nitrate nitrogen, the official said, adding that alternative water sources must be found soon.
Excessive groundwater pump-ing for agricultural irrigation and seaside fisheries in the Yunlin area has surpassed 100 million tonnes, resulting in the ground subsiding throughout most of the region, the official added.