A government official who has warned that the nation’s high-speed rail line could become inoperable in 10 years yesterday said the government had put forward a plan to resolve a land subsidence problem.
“Taiwan High Speed Rail can operate safely without hazards when the plan to close 1,000 deep wells in Changhua County and Yunlin County in 10 years is implemented thoroughly,” Public Construction Commission Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) said.
Lee (who doubles as a minister without portfolio) called an intergovernmental meeting to finalize a plan to address the land subsidence problem, which is mainly attributed to overuse of underground water.
Under the plan, the government aims to reduce the amount of underground water pumped from wells that extend down more than 50m, known as deep wells, by 210 million tonnes by 2021, Lee said.
The section of the high-speed rail line that suffers the worst subsidence lies between Changhua County’s Sijhou Township (溪州) and Yunlin County’s Tuku Township (土庫), where the average subsidence was 6.4cm, data released by the Water Resources Agency last month showed.
Ground subsidence problems can be solved in 10 years with subsidence in the area decreasing to less than 3cm after the 1,000 deep wells are closed, Lee said.
Lee said agricultural irrigation would not be affected because it uses water that is mostly pumped from shallow wells.
Alternative water resources will partly come from the Hushan Reservoir (湖山水庫) in Yunlin County, whose water-holding capacity is about 50 million tonnes, and partly from water conservation measures that can assist industries to increase the water reuse ratio from 10 percent to between 50 percent and 60 percent, Lee said.