The Ministry of Economic Affairs warned yesterday that low water levels in major reservoirs could trigger a repeat of last year's water shortages if rain in the north fails to make up the shortfall.
Water levels of two major reservoirs in northern Taiwan -- Shihmen Dam (
"We will ask the Taipei Water Department [which operates Feitsui Reservoir] to reduce daily water supply to residents from 2.9 million tonnes to 2.8 million tonnes," agency spokesman Chen Shen-hsien (陳伸賢) said yesterday.
Water stored at the reservoir only accounts for 50.46 percent of its capacity.
Chen said the agency might suggest the department maintain a low water pressure during the night.
Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (
Ma said it remains unnecessary to impose restrictions on water supplies for residential use in the city, according to Wu.
"Whether to carry out water-rationing measures or not depends on future rainfall and the consumption of water in the city," Ma said.
Chen said that a coordinating mechanism involving with management issues among the two reservoirs would be launched weeks later, if weather conditions would not cooperate, to ensure water supplies to both industrial and residential sectors in northern Taiwan.
Chen said that in the event of an emergency 320,000 tonnes of water a day could be transferred from the Panhsin Water Purification Plant located on the border between Taipei and Taoyuan counties.
In January, the ministry decided to restrict water to 25,000 hectares of agricultural land managed by the Taoyuan Irrigation Association.
To further conserve water in the reservoir, Chen said, the water supply to 12,000 hectares of agricultural land, managed by Shihmen Irrigation Association, would be reduced sharply beginning March.
"The reservoir could meet the demand from both industry and residential areas until the end of May," Chen said.
In southern Taiwan, Chen said, water levels at both Tsengwen (曾文) and Wushantou (烏山頭) Reservoirs were were bottoming out.
Eighty-five percent of the water from the two reservoirs is for agricultural use.
Because of limited rainfall last year, sugar-cane fields have been left fallow since last November.
By managing water for agricultural use, Chen said, the water demands of industry and homes in southern Taiwan could be met until the end of June.
"We don't think that water supply to the Tainan Science-based Industrial Park will be affected at all," Chen said.
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