Reservoir opened in a bid to dilute murky tap water

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Aug 25, 2015 - Page 3

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said that up to 100 million tonnes of water had been discharged from the Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫) to dilute turbid water in the Nanshih River (南勢溪) in the wake of recent typhoons.

Ko said the quantities of water used for dilution indicate there is a serious problem and that he would ask the Taipei Water Department to deliver a report on the turbidity of raw water to the Executive Yuan, so that measures can be proposed to address recurring issues with murky water.

“This is a matter that requires systematic review and foresight, because it involves several agencies,” Ko said.

The Nanshih River, which converges with the Sindian River (新店溪) before reaching the city’s Zhitan (直潭), Changsin (長興) and Gongguang (公館) water purification plants, is the source of turbid tap water seen in the Greater Taipei area following Typhoon Soudelor early this month.

The Taipei City Government attributed the problem to poor soil and water conservation efforts upstream, which resulted in mudslides and reportedly rendered water processing equipment useless.

Department head Chen Chin-hsiang (陳錦祥) said he plans to compile data on water turbidity levels in the Nanshih River over the past decade and submit a report to the Executive Yuan for reference.

Asked if the problem would change his stance on the construction of a planned Taipei-Yilan railway project, Ko said: “My stance has been clear from the start: Issues of environmental protection must be resolved before anything else.”

Ko previously espoused building the railway using the shortest route of 36.3km, which would connect Taipei’s Nangang District (南港) and Yilan County’s Toucheng Township (頭城) and would cut through parts of New Taipei City’s Pinglin (坪林) and Shihding (石碇) districts, both of which are in the reservoir’s catchment area.

The city’s Department of Transportation said that it would publish results of an ongoing analysis on the relationship between the railway project and raw water turbidity in the Nanshih River after the Ministry of Transportation releases data.