Members of a Control Yuan committee on Friday passed a motion urging the Executive Yuan and the Ministry of Economic Affairs to take measures to stop wastage of the nation’s water sources in light of last year’s water shortage.
Water sources dwindled across the nation from January to June last year due to reduced rainfall in the fall and winter of 2014.
A major cause of waste is leaking tap water lines, which leak about 1 billion tonnes of water per year, committee members Yang Mei-ling (楊美鈴), Chen Hsiao-hung (陳小紅) and Chen Ching-tsai (陳慶財) said.
Eighty percent of the pipelines overseen by Taiwan Water Corp have exceeded their lifespans and more than 16 percent of the pipelines were found to be leaking in inspections conducted last year, a committee report said, adding that in Tokyo, only 3 percent of tap water pipes were found to be leaking.
The loss incurred by leaks in Taiwan’s tap water pipes each year is enough to fill the Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) two-and-a-half times, the report added.
At the rate the nation is upgrading its tap water pipes — 1 percent per year — it would take 100 years for it to complete the process, the report said, adding that the ministry’s policy of cutting water prices caused a spike in water consumption.
Another source of waste is agricultural water transport, in which 5 billion tonnes of water is lost each year, the report said.
The Council of Agriculture has only improved 4,900km of agricultural pipelines, waterways and irrigation ditches from 2010 to last year, which means it would take 200 years for the council to stop water loss, the report said.
The report said that the shortage of funds reported by Taiwan Water is caused by its low water prices, adding that the prices go against international trends.
In 2014, the average expenditure on water in Taiwan was 0.43 percent of an average person’s income, far lower than the WHO’s accepted range of 2 to 4 percent, the report said, adding that the situation is benefiting those who use more water, causing inequality in society.
The report said the ministry’s failure to follow the Water Supply Act (自來水法) caused water conservation to be far more expensive than water consumption.
The price for conserving 1 tonne of water is NT$49.76, which far exceeds the average price of water at NT$8.19 per tonne, the report said, referring to excessive nutrient levels, which stimulate aquatic plant life.
After examining last year’s water quality test results, the committee found severe cases of eutrophication at water reservoirs across the nation.
More than 35 reservoirs exhibited eutrophication and 12 reservoirs exhibited mesotrophication, while only the Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫) was designated as oligotrophic, the report said.
Mesotrophic waters have a moderate amount of nutrients, encouraging the growth of submerged aquatic plants, while oligotrophic waters are clear and have higher quality.
THE CHINA CONNECTION: As Beijing’s aggression increases, so does Taiwanese consciousness, making a new constitution imperative, Hsu Wei-chun said If the nation is to ratify a new constitution, it must first end any illusions about the current document’s relevance to Taiwan, an academic told a forum in Taipei yesterday. For the constitutional revisionist movement to succeed, it needs public enthusiasm, the right timing and a clear plan of action, Chung Yuan Christian University associate professor Hsu Wei-chun (徐偉群) told attendees at the event titled “Imagining a New Constitution for a New Era,” which was organized by the National Taiwan University Graduate Student Association. The Constitution exists under the “one China” framework and has little relevance to Taiwan, Hsu said, adding that
IDENTITY: The time is right to press on with a referendum, as the nation has heightened visibility and support in the global community, the Taiwan United Nations Alliance said The Taiwan United Nations Alliance yesterday said that it is considering launching a petition for a referendum proposal to have the nation join the UN under the name “Taiwan.” Alliance chairman Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) was joined at a news conference in Taipei by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Hsiu-fang (黃秀芳) and leaders of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan and civic organizations. They said that it is the right time for a petition because Taiwan’s visibility on the world stage has increased, as it has been praised for its success in containing its COVID-19 outbreak and for helping other countries by sharing
Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday urged Beijing to respect the median line of the Taiwan Strait by immediately stopping its military intimidation of Taiwan, as such actions would only hurt the feelings of Taiwanese. Beijing should immediately stop making military provocations against Taiwan, Ma wrote on Facebook after Chinese warplanes in the past week have made numerous forays across the median line that divides the Taiwan Strait. Although it has never officially acknowledged the median line, Beijing used to respect it, Ma said in response to comments on Monday by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌), who said
An advertisement displayed in the corridor of the underground Taipei City Mall has caused contention online with social media users saying that it depicts Taiwanese bears as servants of Chinese pandas. The advertisement — which imitates the style of an ancient Chinese painting, but replaces people with bears — shows a scene in imperial China, with Formosan black bears laboring, while pandas relax and enjoy beverages. “The development of the tourism industry is important, but this type of targeted advertising is extremely disrespectful — and it makes people uncomfortable,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chen E-jun (陳怡君) said. The advertisement, under