Thu, Mar 21, 2013 - Page 3 News List

More areas face risk of water rationing: official

DRY SPELL:Kaohsiung is at risk of starting rationing by Friday, while three counties in the north could move on to second-stage rationing if the drought continues

Staff writer, with CNA

Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli counties have introduced night-time water rationing, which will likely be maintained until the end of next month or early May, as the nation continues to battle a drought, Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) said yesterday.

Since March 15, the three counties have been flashing a “yellow” light — indicating tight water supply — based on the Water Resources Agency’s (WRA) five-color coded system, Chang said.

That meant first-stage water rationing had to be implemented, reducing the water pressure to consumers every day between 11pm and 5am, Chang said.

During those hours, the water pressure will drop 10 percent, which will not affect people’s daily lives, he said.

Meanwhile, water supply in Greater Kaohsiung is also expected to start flashing “yellow” by tomorrow, he added.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), who made an inspection tour of Shihmen Reservoir in Taoyuan County, which mainly supplies New Taipei City (新北市), Taoyuan and Hsinchu County’s Hukou (湖口), yesterday said that if the drought continues, areas currently under first-stage water rationing may have to proceed to the second stage by April 10.

“The exact date will be announced by the Water Resources Agency,” he said.

Second-stage water rationing, represented by a “blue” light in the WRA system, means that water supply to fountains will be cut, while that to big consumers will be reduced.

A “red” light signals a need for third-stage rationing, under which water is supplied to consumers on a rotational basis.

Weather forecasters said the nations would experience lower-than-average rainfall in the next few weeks before the beginning of the plum rain season in May.

Rainfall has been scant since last month, with Central Weather Bureau data showing accumulated precipitation of 37.9mm in Taipei between Feb. 1 and March 17, compared with the usual average of 262mm for that period.

The Taipei City Government yesterday began free distribution of water-saving kits for household faucets and toilets, as part of its efforts to conserve water resources.

Each household in the city is entitled to one free kit, which is available at the Taipei Water Department’s branch offices.

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