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Chip makers unruffled by planned water surcharge

Chip makers unruffled by planned water surcharge

Taipei, Jan. 10 (CNA) Taiwan's two leading contract chip makers seem confident about dealing with a planned surcharge on big water users because of the water conservation measures the two companies have taken over many years. Both Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chip maker, and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), the world's third largest contract chip maker, say they have achieved positive results in managing water resource risk. UMC has developed a water conservation process in addition to making efficient use of water during production to keep water consumption at a minimum. TSMC has focused on retrieving clean used water to re-use in the production process or to send to the cooling tower for less important purposes. The company now recycles about 85 percent of the wastewater its plants generate, saving more than 37 million cubic meters of water a year. UMC's recycling process saves 24.91 million cubic meters of water a year. Together, the two Hsinchu-based contract chip makers conserve enough water to fill the Baoshan No. 2 Reservoir in Hsinchu twice. The reservoir has a storage capacity of 32.18 million cubic meters of water. AU Optronics Corp. (AUO), one of Taiwan's leading flat panel makers, said it also recycles about 85 percent of its wastewater, a relatively high standard in the industry, and indicated it was not worried about a potential surcharge. "If the government implements a water surcharge, it will have no effect on our company," AUO said. The company said it puts a high priority on the environment and is committed to conserving water, saving 13 million cubic meters of water a year through its recycling initiatives.
To encourage water conservation, the Water Resources Agency (WRA) plans to slap a surcharge on users of more than 1,000 cubic meters of water a month, such as electronics, flat panel, petrochemical and steel factories. Car wash and spa operators, hotels, and playgrounds that use over 1,000 cubic meters of water a month will also be subject to the surcharge, but offices, schools, hospitals, and collective housing will not have to pay the higher prices. The three-tier surcharge system will slap a surcharge of 10 percent on water use between 1,000 and 3,000 cubic meters, 20 percent on water use of between 3,000 and 6,000 cubic meters, and 30 percent of water use of over 6,000 cubic meters. WRA officials estimated that there are 5,742 accounts using more than 1,000 cubic meters of water a month that will be subject to the surcharge. Though big water users account for less than 1 percent of all water users in Taiwan, they consume about 725 million cubic meters of water a year, about 26.1 percent of all the water used in Taiwan.
If implemented, the planned surcharge on big water users will take effect in 2017 at the earliest. (By Jackson Chang, Pan Chi-yi, Huang Chiao-wen and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-09-23 19:38 GMT+08:00