River constructions to be finished ahead of schedule

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mon, Feb 23, 2004 - Page 2

All planned flood-prevention constructions along the Keelung River will be completed at the end of this year, or four months ahead of schedule, according to the Water Resources Agency (WRA).

To demonstrate the central government's efficiency in carrying out an ambitious flood-prevention project along the Keelung River, Premier Yu Shyi-kun on Saturday inspected Hsichih, one of the townships in Taipei County vulnerable to floods. He said that the project had been processed efficiently to not only ensure the safety of local residents but also to boost the local economy.

"Currently the price of a home in Hsichih is about NT$80,000 per ping. We believe that the unit price will increase by at least 50 percent at the end of this year," Yu said.

Floods prompted by Typhoon Xangsane in 2002 and Typhoon Nari in September, 2001, caused several deaths and financial losses exceeding NT$10 billion in Hsichih.

In the wake of the floods, the central government allocated NT$31.6 billion for a three-year project treating the Keelung River. The flood-prevention project was scheduled to be completed in April next year.

"Our recent evaluation suggests that all constructions will be completed by the end of this year. People now can come back to Hsichih to buy new homes. There's no need to worry about floods anymore," WRA director-general Chen Shen-hsien (陳伸賢) said.

According to Chen, flood-prevention measures are being installed at 11 locations along the river, including Juifang, Keelung and Hsichih. Construction is due to be completed by the end of this year. However, Chen said, the agency will have it finished in June before the rainy season starts.

A 2.45km spillway tunnel under construction in Juifang as well as bridges and 18 pumping stations built along the river to drain waterlogged land will be finished by the end of the year, he said.