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Fri, Mar 29, 2002 - Page 18 News List

New water-resource body gets launched, and attacked

CNA , TAIPEI

A new government body, the Water Resources Agency (WRA) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) was launched in the central city of Taichung yesterday. The new body is aimed at better management of Taiwan's water re-sources and will address its lingering water-shortage problems.

Independent and opposition lawmakers, however, wasted no time and immediately started pushing for the resignation of the new agency's first chief, Huang Jing-san (黃金山), over the recent water-shortage problem in northern Taiwan.

Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Yi-fu (林義夫) presided over the new agency's launching ceremony to signify the importance the government is giving to water-resources management and conservation.

Taiwan suffered serious flooding last year due to heavy rainfalls brought by a string of typhoons. This year, abnormal climatic conditions have caused the opposite problem, with northern Taiwan experiencing water shortages in recent months. Against this backdrop, the opening of the WRA has drawn much attention in Taiwanese politics.

Huang, originally the head of the ministry's Water Resources Bureau (WRB), said that the new agency will be responsible for the survey, development and distribution of Taiwan's water resources. The agency will also have to clean up rivers, renovate dikes and prevent drought and flood disasters in general.

He said the WRA will have 15 subordinate agencies, including a water resources bureau in the northern, central and southern parts of the nation.

Legislator Sisy Chen (陳文茜) and her two opposition colleagues -- Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) of the Kuomintang and Lee Yung-ping (李永萍) of the PFP -- immediately urged Huang to quit his new position as a sign that he assumes responsibility -- as the former WRB head -- for the water shortages that have gripped northern Taiwan since mid-February.

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