Tue, Jan 05, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Water managers to focus on hydrating drought-hit south

MOISTURIZING MOVEThe Water Resource Agency said that in the short term it would supply an additional 195,000 tonnes of water per day

Staff writer, with CNA

In addition to fostering better management of reservoirs, a Water Resource Agency (WRA) official said yesterday that it would try to increase water availability in southern regions to battle a recent drought.

WRA Deputy Director Wu Yue-hsi (吳約西) said that in the short term, the agency would increase the supply of backup groundwater per day from 205,000 tonnes to 400,000 tonnes and would also plan to promote sea water desalination and the recycling of wastewater.

The WRA will also encourage people in southern Taiwan to use more water-saving devices and to cultivate water-saving habits, Wu said.

Although the government recently said it would dredge reservoirs in southern Taiwan, the progress will be slow, said Wu, adding that it will take a long time to bring the water supplies in reservoirs back to normal levels.

WRA Director Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) said last month that reservoir water levels had fallen alarmingly because of unusually low rainfall and silt buildup.

Water consumption in Taiwan averages 274 liters per head per day, equivalent to emptying Sun Moon Lake every 20 days, said Yang, adding that serious water shortages could occur very soon.

The agency said it hoped to decrease personal daily water consumption to about 250 liters.

WRA studies have shown that 27 percent of household water is used to flush toilets; 21 percent to do laundry; 20 percent for showers; 15 percent for cooking, drinking and cleaning; and 17 percent for other purposes.

To fight the drought, the Kaohsiung City Government last week said it would drill new wells along the Gaoping River (高屏溪).

Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Lin Jen-yi (林仁益) said the project would double the water supply from the wells in the area to 400,000m³ per day.

Typhoon Morakot deposited huge quantities of sand and mud in southern Taiwan’s reservoirs in August, while scant rainfall also affected the water supply situation.

The Executive Yuan announced last month that it had earmarked NT$34 billion (US$1.05 billion) to dredge the country’s two largest reservoirs — Zengwun (曾文) and Nanhua (南化) in southern Taiwan — over the next six to seven years.

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