The Kinmen County Government could start buying water from China by the first half of 2016 to resolve the area’s water shortage, Water Resources Agency Director-General Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) said.
Yang said that Taiwan and China are in talks on the price that Beijing would charge for water sold to the island that lies within kilometers of the southeastern Chinese coast.
If a consensus on the pricing is reached by next month, water could start flowing from China to Kinmen in 2016, given that construction of transportation pipes and water quality inspections would take about 18 months, Yang said.
The Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits reached an agreement on resolving Kinmen’s water shortage problem during the ninth round of talks between the two agency’s leaders in July last year.
Water resource officials from the two countries then carried out follow-up negotiations on the matter.
Kinmen County gets little precipitation compared with the rest of the country and its reservoirs are relatively shallow, with limited water storage capacity, Yang said.
The county’s water supply is also vulnerable to eutrophication (the buildup of unwanted nutrients), which adversely affects its quality, he said.
Because Kinmen has limited water sources, the cost of producing it locally is about NT$50 to NT$60 per cubic meter and this rises to as high as NT$200 per cubic meter when the water is brought in from Taiwan proper.
With cross-strait relations improving, the Water Resources Agency began studying the feasibility of importing water to Kinmen from China to deal with water scarcity and lower costs, Yang said.
A precondition for the plan is that 70 percent of Kinmen’s water must still be sourced at home and no more than 30 percent from other sources to limit risks to national security, Yang said.
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