Wed, Jun 27, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Executive Yuan urged to reject science park budget

FAULTY FIGURES:Ecology activists insisted that the estimates in the budget were inaccurate and did not reflect the real costs of fulfilling the park’s water needs

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Water Resources Protection Union spokesperson Chen Jiau-hua and Democratic Progressive Party legislators Tien Chiu-chin and Lin Shu-fen, right to left, hold a press conference in Taipei yesterday, calling for a public hearing on the fourth-phase expansion project of the Central Taiwan Science Park.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Environmentalists yesterday called for the Executive Yuan to reject the budget proposal for the fourth-phase expansion project at the science park in Changhua County’s Erlin Township (二林), under the Central Taiwan Science Park Administration as it might mislead the government with inaccurate numbers.

The National Science Council (NSC), which oversees all of the nation’s science parks, decided to change the use of Erlin Science Park after its main investor, flat panel manufacturer AU Optronics, decided to abandon its plan to build a large plant in the park.

Taiwan Water Conservation Alliance spokesperson Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) said the daily amount of water that park requires has been reduced from 160,000 tonnes to 20,000 tonnes. However, the NSC has under-budgeted the costs for diverting water from crops to the park and over-budgeted the costs for wastewater treatment, she said.

Chen said that the council had never considered the options of reducing tap water usage, recycling wastewater and desalinating sea water. It also failed to budget the money to expropriate the land needed to build detention ponds, she said.

“It [the budget plan] could lead the Executive Yuan to make the wrong decision and choose the proposal of diverting water resources from farms,” she added.

Lin Lexin (林樂昕), spokeswoman of the Taiwan Rural Front, said many international farmers’ group consider Taiwan an ideal place for agricultural industry because of its well-rounded infrastructure.

The budget plan proposed by NSC showed that it has no clear industrial policy, she said, adding that it simply helped the companies find properties to build factories.

The mid-term water supply of the Erlin campus between 2015 and 2019 is also a problem because of the limited 4,800 tonnes per day of tap water channeled by the Water Resources Agency still leaves a shortfall of 15,200 tonnes per day as the park needs 20,000 tonnes.

Chiang Ming-lang (江明朗), deputy chief engineer at the agency, said that the tap water leakage rate in Changhua County is about 20 percent. He said the government could only manage to reduce the leakage rate by about five percent at best, which could translate to 1,800 tonnes of water saved daily. However, employing this measure would still not meet the demand. The conserved water should instead be added to the underground water system to prevent the land subsidence problem from worsening, Chiang said.

In response, Shih Wen-fang (施文芳), a section chief at the Central Taiwan Science Park Administration, said all the options Chen had mentioned have been presented to the Executive Yuan for consideration.

He said that the land expropriation cost had been properly budgeted in the original plan presented to the Executive Yuan and there was no need to budget additional money for it. The budget for the construction of the sediment deposit ponds was higher because it was bundled with other landscaping projects.

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