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Taiwan’s Hsinchu more concerned about pandemic than water shortage

Companies at Hsinchu Science Park may face water rationing in June if drought persists

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. factory at Hsinchu Science Park. (TSMC photo)

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. factory at Hsinchu Science Park. (TSMC photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Major semiconductor companies at Hsinchu Science Park have said they are more concerned about the recent COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan than the ongoing drought.

On Wednesday (May 19), the Water Resources Agency (WRA) announced that it will begin reducing water supplies to only five days a week in the Hsinchu area in June unless the drought situation improves. The rationing measures pose a potential risk to the production of computer chips, which requires vast amounts of water.

However, companies at the Hsinchu Science Park said potential COVID-19 clusters within the companies remain their main concern, according to UDN.

With the science park already planning to trim water use by 17 percent and relying more on water trucks, both Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and United Microelectronics Corp. have said the drought will have little impact on production. On the other hand, if one of their factory workers is diagnosed with COVID-19, the companies would have to disinfect the entire facility and quarantine many employees, they pointed out.

Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp., another chipmaker at the science park, also insisted it would maintain normal operation despite the historic drought. It said it has temporarily closed the company fitness center and switched to disposable tableware as part of its water-saving measures.