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A sustainable water management plan is our future, says Ko

A sustainable water management plan is our future, says Ko

Luis Ko, the general manager of I-Mei Foods Company, addressed the perplexing condition of Taiwan’s water resource management. He emphasized that there is no food safety nor quality agricultural products if we don’t have clean air and water.

Ko began with the scarcity of natural resources, especially water. All humans, rich or poor, have the rights to access safe drinking water. The government should provide affordable prices for water that are used to maintain humans’ survival.

Ko further said that the economic development process of Taiwan went from the hunter and gatherer age, the agricultural society, the industrial society, to the current service-oriented economy. Before 1960s, nobody felt the strain on Taiwan’s water resources. However, for decades, the government lacks long term, clear and sustainable water management policies and water pricing. One of the biggest dangers when the government attracts foreign investment with “low wages, low water pricing, low electricity pricing, and low land cost” is that the foreign investors’ evaluation will base on “the cheapest water pricing in the world”. Therefore, this situation creates a huge difficulty for the government to raise the water pricing.

Ko then suggested the government to establish a clear and precise plan for the next 50 years. The plan should include the following: sustainable water management, the prediction of the water pricing, the strategies for sustainable reservoirs management, water resources protection plan, the plan for water distribution among civilians, industrial, agricultural and service sectors. These plans will help the industries, agricultural, business and service sectors to estimate their cost of operation. This is a way to slowly phase out the less economic competitive companies in the market. The politicians need change their mentalities and understand that one of the biggest obstacles in the way of industries upgrading is the low water pricing.

Ko used Morris Chang, the founding Chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. (TSMC), as an example. He said Chang’s leadership and management is an excellent model for all companies in Taiwan. They are keen on the development of water recycling treatment and the efficacy usage of water. They have the ability to afford high water pricing and they insisted on putting more effort into the research of water conservation.

Ko believes that many enterprises are prepared themselves to deal with the adverse effect of higher water pricing and initiate corresponding research and development projects to reduce water consumption in their production. As long as the government makes a reasonable water pricing policy for the next 50 years, the most competitive companies will do their best to adapt to the new policy and become even more efficient.

The world can no longer support the time when a ton of drinking water is cheaper than a bottle of mineral water.

As the proportion of the drinking water accounts for less than one-tenth-thousand of the national tap water supply, there is no need to spend more time and budget in turning tap water into drinking water!

Furthermore, the amount silt deposit in the reservoir should be less than the silt cleaned out of the reservoir.

“The government should consider dividing the raise in the water pricing into 10 stages in the span of 50 years. For example, it will rise from NT$ 15 per ton to NT$ 120 per ton after 50 years. However, the policies need to assure the residents’ right to the basic amount of water usage at the price of NT$10 per ton for water which is the essence of life. Plus, there should be no price increase in water intended for household use in the next 50 years,” said Ko.

“The plan I propose might not be unanimously accepted by 'the industry, the government, the academics, the home dwellers, web surfers, netizens, the underprivileged, foodies, and consumers,’ while it deserves our attention, discussion, debate, and our efforts to make Taiwan’s water resource far more sustainable,” concluded Ko.

Updated : 2021-09-21 02:01 GMT+08:00