Sat, Jun 02, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Premier touts plan to grow water supply

OBJECTIVES:The premier said that the government is promoting water recycling, while improving distribution to different areas and working to combat flooding

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Premier William Lai speaks at an awards ceremony held by the Water Resources Agency in Taichung yesterday.

Photo: Chen Chien-chih, Taipei Times

Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said he hopes that the nation’s annual water supply can be increased by 1.9 billion tonnes by 2031 with the government’s water management policies.

The Executive Yuan’s policy objectives related to water are to eliminate water shortages and protect against floods, supply people with clean water and build waterfront parks, while its water management plans center on developing water sources, redoubling water consumption efforts, facilitating water distribution and ensuring abundant backup supplies, Lai said at an awards ceremony in Taichung honoring individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the nation’s water infrastructure.

By working toward these objectives, the Executive Yuan hopes to add 1.9 billion tonnes, or about 520,000 tonnes per day, to the nation’s annual water supply, he said.

With regard to developing water sources, the Water Resources Agency has completed the construction of a desilting tunnel at Zengwen Reservoir (曾文水庫), and work has begun on another desilting tunnel at Nanhua Reservoir (南化水庫), Lai said.

The government is also pushing water recycling policies and has launched several pilot projects with an aim to supply top-quality recycled water to Tainan’s industrial areas, he said.

To conserve water, state-owned Taiwan Water Corp (Taiwater) has set a goal of reducing water pipeline leaks to 10 percent by 2031, while the government aims to boost the recycling rate of industrial water to 80 percent, Lai said.

He also touted work by irrigation association officials to regulate and distribute water for agricultural use, which has played a crucial role in regulating water use, he said.

As an example of government efforts to facilitate water distribution, Lai said that as soon as the phase-two project to improve water supply to the Banciao-Sindian (板橋-新店) area is completed, Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫) would be able to share the burden of supplying water to the area, which has been supplied by Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) until now.

The water that would be saved at Shihmen Reservoir could be then tapped by Hsinchu County, he added.

Lai suggested building a pipeline between Hsinchu and Miaoli counties, which would allow the two to pool water resources.

The government has launched a project that would cost NT$80 billion over eight years to combat flooding in areas totaling more than 500km2, Lai said.

The government would continue to build levees, water retention pools and floodways, and carry out dredging work to prevent floods, the premier said, adding that the Cabinet has allocated funds under the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program to tackle flooding.

On a related note, building more waterfront parks could also help prevent flooding, he said.

As for efforts to expand the coverage of clean potable water, Taiwater has teamed up with five-star hotels to encourage people to drink directly from faucets, as well as with schools to install drinking fountains, he said.

The government would continue to promote potable water for communities and at hotels to make international visitors feel “safe” about their drinking water, he added.

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