TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—Water shortage alerts and different phases of water rationing implemented during the start of the year in Taiwan were caused by record low winter rainfall since 1963, said Economic Affairs Minister Lee Chih-kung (李世光) on Tuesday.
Lai Chien-hsin (賴建信), head of the Water Resources Agency (WRA), noted rainfall recorded in winter in 2017 was 160.61 millimeters less, the second lowest rainfall recorded since 1963 where rainfall declined 168.79 millimeters, according to statistics compiled by the agency from Dec. 1, 2016 to Feb. 22, 2017.
Due to lower rainfall during winter season, science parks from north to southern Taiwan, New Taipei City and Taoyuan City governments deployed preemptive water conservation strategies earlier this year, said Lai.
"First phase water rationing is implemented in Chiayi County, Tainan City and Kaohsiung City at the moment because of low water reserves in the Tsengwen Reservoir (曾文水庫),” he added.
Nanhua Reservoir and Tsengwen Reservoir are the main water suppliers to southern counties and cities in Taiwan.
Statistics compiled by WRA indicate effective water reservoir capacity in Tsengwen Reservoir was down to 26 percent or 15.49 million square meters.
Meanwhile, Nanhua Reservoir capacity was down to 31 percent or 29.58 million cubic square meters as of April 27, 2017, shrinking 12.34 million cubic square meters over the last five years.
Despite the water shortage down south, MOEA lifted first phase water rationing in northern Taiwan’s Banqiao, Xindian, Linkou, Hsinchu County and Taoyuan City last week as water reservoir levels in the Shimen Reservoir (石門水庫) in Taoyuan City and Taipei’s Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫) returned to normal levels.
Water reserve levels in the Shimen Reservoir (石門水庫) in Taoyuan City rebounded to 60 percent reservoir capacity of 12.05 million cubic square meters, and Taipei’s Feitsui Reservoir (翡翠水庫) climbed back to 84 percent reservoir capacity of 28.33 million cubic square meters on April 27.
To solve the low rainfall issue the WRA attempted to create artificial rainfall 12 times in 2017, and is working on raising public awareness on the importance of water conservation.
Taiwan will also finish completing constructions of the Chung Chuang water storage and adjustment pool (中庄調整池) by July 2017, ahead of the upcoming typhoon season which causes water to become murky filled with mud and sand making it unusable, said Taiwan’s Minister of Economy Lee.
The storage pool constructed near Shimen Reservoir will be used to filter the high level of sediments during typhoon season, have a water reservoir capacity of 4.92 million metric tons, and provide approximately 800,000 metric tons of water per day, equivalent to 6.2 days of water for emergency usage.