TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is grappling with one of its worst droughts in history due to five main factors, according to a weather expert.
The water shortage is weighing on the country’s chipmaking industry, and the supply of water in many central areas has been reduced to five days a week.
Meteorologist and WeatherRisk Explore Inc CEO Peng Chi-ming (彭啟明) observed in a Facebook post on Sunday (May 23) that there is a sharp discrepancy between the amount of precipitation Taiwan receives during the dry and wet seasons, limiting its ability to store water. In addition, for an island country heavily reliant on typhoons for rainfall, the absence of typhoons last year has spelt disaster.
Hopes that spring rains will bring some relief to the thirsty reservoirs have been dashed as a result of the La Niña phenomenon. Meanwhile, a Pacific high-pressure system stretching to the west has pushed back the arrival of the plum rain season, which would normally have brought plentiful rainfall by now.
Peng concluded that in the long term, these abnormal weather patterns could occur more frequently because of climate change, and he urged people to make water conservation a habit.
One after one, reservoirs across the country have seen their water drop. The latest data puts the water level at Feitsui Reservoir below 60 percent, raising another alarm for Taiwan, as the dam has been a major water supplier for households in the north. The reservoir has also been sharing its capacity with other parts of the country via deliveries since the severe drought set in.