Representatives from nearly 20 civic groups marked the International Day of Action for Rivers yesterday by urging the government to undertake a re-evaluation of the nation’s water resource policies — especially an improvement of the high water leakage rate as an alternative to building more reservoirs and dams.
“Liberate the rivers, return the rivers to the people,” “Love the rivers, no to reservoirs,” the groups shouted in front of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, calling on the government to protect rivers in their natural form and stop building structures that destroy the environment.
The groups suggested policies governing water resource focused on changing the nation’s industrial structure, especially those sectors that have high water consumption, after a thorough evaluation of Taiwan’s natural resources and conditions.
Photo: Wang Min-Wei, Taipei Times
The groups also expressed their opposition to the planned construction of reservoirs, dams and other water diversion projects in their hometowns.
A number of lawmakers showed their support.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiu Wen-yen (邱文彥) said the government should consider diversified methods of water retention, and respect the living rights and cultures of riverine residents.
“The rain falls equally on everyone’s head,” said Fred Chiu (丘延亮), an associate research fellow at the Institute of Ethnology at the Academia Sinica.
Water resources are a public good, he added, and no one should be deprived of their rights to water for the benefit of a few industries.
Kuo Jen-hao (郭人豪) of the Changhua Environmental Protection Union said the proposed Dadu Weir (大度攔河堰) would collect about 800,000 tonnes of water from the upstream catchment area to accommodate the fourth-phase expansion of the Central Taiwan Science Park. That figure is more than double the 360,000 tonnes of tap water consumed in the county, he added.
Kao Wen-lu (高文祿) of the Pingsi Anti-Reservoir Union said areas near Keelung are known for abundant rainfall, so the government should consider how to collect rainwater instead of building a new reservoir.
Citing a report conducted by the Consumers’ Foundation in 2007, the group said the average water leakage rate in the area is 34.76 percent, and as high as 47 to 49 percent in Ruifang (瑞芳), adding that based on an average 260,000m3 daily water leakage in 2006, annual leakage would be about double the planned reservoir’s water storage capacity.
Representatives of Jian-Shih Anti-Dam Association, from Hsinchu County’s Jianshi Township (尖石), mostly Aborigines from Atayal villages, added that they are determined to fight against the construction of the Bilin (比麟) and Gaotai (高台) reservoirs in their homeland.
Atayal people regard the land as their mother and they live in peace with the land and nature, the group said, and they blamed the devastation of villages by typhoons on major constructions in the upstream catchment area.
Meanwhile, representatives of Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan, said hydroelectric power generated from dams is actually not a sustainable energy source, because the dams dry up the downstream area and greatly damage the ecosystem.
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