Lake tours may be suspended due to low water level

Staff writer, with CNA

Sun, Mar 17, 2013 - Page 3

Boat tours on Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) in Nantou County may be suspended in late May because of the low water level, the lake’s administration said yesterday.

It said the lake’s water level has dropped sharply due to the low rainfall this year, which may also force the boat piers to close and affect tourism at the site if the situation continues.

The lake is fed mainly by the Jhuoshui River (濁水溪) via a 10km tunnel built by Taiwan Power Co (Taipower).

The water level in Sun Moon Lake, the nation’s largest natural lake, is usually 748.5m above sea level, according to Taipower data.

However, because of the low rainfall so far this year, the water level had dropped to 744.7m as of yesterday, the administration’s data showed.

Chen Yi-chuan (陳逸全), a division chief at the Sun Moon Lake Administration Office, said the piers at the lake are designed to function at a safety level of about 742.5m.

If the water level drops to 743m, a warning system is triggered, he said. If it falls to 742m, all four piers around the lake would be closed and boat tours would be suspended, he added.

The Water Resources Agency estimates that if it does not rain soon, the water in the lake may drop to 743m by early May, and 742m by late May.

This would mean closure of the piers, which would affect tourism in the area, the agency said.

The piers at Sun Moon Lake were closed for two weeks in April 2001 after the water level dropped to 742m due to a drought and construction work on Lula Island in the center of the lake.

In May 2011, there was a risk that the piers would close because of an unusually dry season, but the rains eventually started and the situation was averted.