Sat, Apr 18, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Water conservation habits need to be formed: WRA

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan’s major source of fresh water is rain, which falls in large volumes each year when tropical storms arrive, but the island can only store about 20 percent of its annual rainfall, a Water Resources Agency (WRA) official said earlier this week in Tainan.

WRA chief secretary Lai Chien-hsin (賴建信) said that about 72 percent of the rainwater collected in Taiwan is used for agricultural purposes, 9 percent for industrial operations and 19 percent for domestic purposes.

With more frequent water shortages expected due to global climate change, inhabitants need to develop water conservation habits, Lai said at a conference on water and drought issues held at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) on Wednesday.

For example, in Taipei, the average daily consumption is 325L per person, compared with the average of 250L per person in most developed countries, Lai said, adding that residents of the capital can do more to conserve water.

The relevant authorities must also devise plans to explore other water resources, he said.

At Wednesday’s conference, it was revealed that, according to WRA data, more than 80 percent of the rainwater that falls in the nation each year runs off into the sea, which is a loss of 50 billion tonnes of water.

While the nation’s main source of water is rain, due of its storage limitations, more than 5 billion tonnes of underground water need to be extracted each year, NCKU said, adding that the government should take action to resolve the problem.

Over the past few months, Taiwan has been gripped by its worst water shortage in decades, which has forced a rotational cut in water supplies to some northern parts of the nation, including Taoyuan, Hsinchu and New Taipei City, the most populous city in the nation.

Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫), which supplies most of northern Taiwan, was at 24.59 percent capacity as of Tuesday, according to WRA statistics.

However, Taipei is currently not at risk of a water shortage, because Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫), which supplies the city, was at 88.84 percent capacity as of Tuesday, the WRA said.

In the south, water rationing measures have also been imposed, although on a less stringent basis.

In Tainan and Kaohsiung, water pressure is being reduced at night and the supply to industrial users has been reduced.

The WRA has set several water conservation goals, including reducing the national average domestic consumption rate from the current 268L per person to 240L in the next 10 years, cutting the supply for agricultural irrigation to fewer than 12 billion tonnes per year and achieving an 80 percent water recycling rate for industrial use.

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