TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The world will face increasingly uncertain weather due to climate change, which could lead to future water shortages, while current investment into water systems remains insufficient.
“We’re way behind in terms of the amount of investment we need to bring our industrial water systems, our (agricultural) systems, and our residential systems up to where they need to be,” said John Streur, CEO of Calvert Research and Management, a firm that focuses on sustainability, CNBC reported. He also said many executives from water-reliant companies say water is “very underpriced.”
“As a result of that, the amount of effort that we’ve put into creating a safe and secure source of water is behind where we are in terms of our industrial development,” Streur told CNBC on Tuesday (June 9).
Calvert Research and Management owns shares in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) because it uses water efficiently, the CEO said. TSMC is considered a leader in water management, Streur added.
Semiconductor foundries require massive amounts of water daily but have become more efficient in their use of the resource, he said. According to TSMC’s 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, the company recycled 87 percent of its water from manufacturing in 2019.
While TSMC has become more efficient with their water usage, the amount of water they have used during fabrication has also increased. TSMC figures show that the amount of water used to manufacture one wafer layer rose from 44.6 liters in 2015 to 59.3 liters by 2019.
TSMC has been building an industrial wastewater treatment plant located in the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan that is expected to come online at the end of the year. The company says that the facility will eventually be able to supply around 67,000 tons of recycled water a day that can be used for chipmaking, which is almost half of the 156,000 tons of water required daily by TSMC, according to 2019 figures.
Taiwan is currently experiencing its worst drought in over 50 years, which has forced several tech companies, including TSMC, to pay to have trucks ship water to facilities in order to ensure stable production. Recent downpours across the country due to the plum rains have brought some relief to many of Taiwan’s parched reservoirs.