Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) yesterday urged the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) to collect an additional water consumption fee to encourage big consumers, especially industrial firms, to save and reuse water.
At a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee, Lin asked why the ministry refrained from collecting the fee, even though the Legislative Yuan empowered it to do so by passing amendments to the Water Act (水利法) in 2016.
Formosa Plastics Group’s (FPG) naphtha cracker complex in Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township (麥寮) consumes nearly 270,000 tonnes of water per day from Nantou County’s Jiji Dam (集集攔河堰), Lin said.
FPG spends about NT$6 on one cubic meter of water — including the costs for purchasing raw water and water treatment — while other firms must purchase water from state-run Taiwan Water Corp (Taiwater) at NT$12 per cubic meter, she said.
With much of their water supply appropriated by the complex, residents of Yunlin and Changhua counties have resorted to digging wells to extract groundwater, but some were ordered to seal the wells in areas affected by land subsidence, Lin said.
To encourage businesses to save water and develop methods to reuse water, the ministry should collect the fee from users who consume more than 3,000m3 of water per month, she said.
Lin accused the ministry of not collecting the fee due to opposition from the Chinese National Federation of Industries..
FPG chairman William Wong (王文淵) was in April last year elected federation chairman.
The agency has suspended its plan to levy the fee because Taiwater last year announced a plan to raise water prices, Water Resource Agency Deputy Director-General Wang Yi-feng (王藝峰) said, without specifying when the agency would start collecting the fee.
FPG pays nearly NT$22 for one cubic meter of raw water, instead of NT$6 as Lin said, as it has to cover costs of raw water treatment, compensation for using part of the agricultural water supply and other fees, he said.
The group is planning to build a seawater desalination plant at the complex, which is expected to become operational in 2021 and produce nearly 100,000 tonnes of water every day, Wang added.
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