The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday said Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) violated the Water Supply Act (自來水法) by providing turbid water to parts of Taipei following Typhoon Soudelor, which carried a maximum jail term of five years.
“Mayor Ko has violated the Water Supply Act by letting his city residents drink murky tap water, which could not only damage their health, but also incur monetary losses because of the need to remove the sediment built up in their water tanks,” KMT Legislator Lee Guei-min (李貴敏) told a press conference in Taipei yesterday morning.
Lee made the remarks a day after Taipei Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-chi (鄧家基) said during an Executive Yuan meeting that it was the Taipei City Government’s decision to supply murky tap water.
The turbid water was supplied in the city for three consecutive days after Typhoon Soudelor ravaged the country last weekend, triggering panic buying of bottled water and public anger.
Citing Article 10 of the act, Lee said the quality of water supplied by water supply enterprises should be clear, colorless, odorless, tasteless, have proper pH levels and not contain chemical compounds, microorganisms, mineral substances or radioactive materials beyond permissible levels.
“Article 101 of the act also states that a water supply enterprise should be punished with a maximum fine of NT$1,000 if its water does not meet the standards stipulated in Article 10,” Lee said.
Also, the person in charge of the enterprise, their representative or employee in charge of water quality control is subject to imprisonment for up to five years should they knowingly supply sub-standard water to users and cause diseases, Lee said.
Lee said everything should be in accordance with rule of law, but the city government broke the law and failed to act on the water problem.
“Maybe Ko is unfamiliar with the laws, given his previous occupation as a doctor, but he should nevertheless respect the opinions of his administration’s compliance officers, work to ensure the health of his citizens and refrain from turning the city into a society administered by autocracy,” she said.
In response, Ko said on the sidelines of a visit to the city’s Syntrend Creative Park yesterday that the decision to provide murky water was proposed by Taipei Water Department Commissioner Chen Chin-hsiang (陳錦祥) after determining that the consequences of doing so would be less problematic than a complete suspension of water supplies.
“Water is an issue of grave concern to the public. I have instructed relevant government agencies to deliver a full report next week detailing any deficiencies in the city government’s handling of this typhoon and set forth guidelines for dealing with similar situations in the future,” Ko said.
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