Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday instructed all government agencies to brace for a prolonged water shortage, saying that no significant rainfall is forecast until June.
During a regular Cabinet meeting, Su asked agencies to prepare desalination and water recycling units, and called on the public to save water.
The Ministry of Finance should offer help to people and businesses affected by the shortage, and consider tax exemption measures, Su said.
He also thanked the military for helping with dredging efforts at reservoirs across Taiwan.
Since Tuesday, water supply is suspended two days per week in some areas of Taichung, and Miaoli and Changhua counties.
Two major reservoirs in Chiayi County might run out of water within two months if the lack of rain continues, Taiwan Water Corp (Taiwater) said on Wednesday.
If the catchment areas of the Lantan Reservoir (蘭潭水庫) and Renyitan Reservoir (仁義潭水庫) receive no rainfall, demand would outstrip supply by the end of next month, Taiwater Chiayi branch office director Wu Chieh-ming (吳界明) said, adding that the daily average water consumption in Chiayi is about 300,000m3.
When dredging efforts at the Renyitan Reservoir started late last month, some of its water resources were transferred to the Lantan Reservoir, which is downstream, Wu said.
Water levels were at 26.1 percent of capacity at the Renyitan Reservoir and 67.1 percent at the Lantan Reservoir, Wu added.
The effort to remove 55,000m3 of sediment would be completed late next month, Wu said, adding that 40,000m3 had already been cleared.
The Water Resources Agency on Feb. 25 raised the water shortage warning level in Chiayi from “yellow” to “orange,” which required the utility to limit water supply, Wu said.
Yunlin County’s Hushan Reservoir (湖山水庫) and Tainan’s Wushantou Reservoir (烏山頭水庫) also supply Chiayi, but their water levels have dropped to less than 50 percent of capacity, Wu added.
Chiayi’s Aboriginal communities rely mostly on water from local springs, Chiayi Water Resources Department Deputy Director Chu Sung-hao (朱崧豪) said, adding that water supply to the communities could dwindle if the shortage continues.
Meanwhile, Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said that as the city’s Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) is at below 40 percent of capacity, the local water shortage alert would be raised from “yellow” to “orange.”
The Taoyuan City Government is preparing to suspend supply for two days per week, he said, adding that it is also exploring the possibility of activating emergency backup wells and installing mobile water purification systems.
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