Last night my landlord send me a message on line informing me there’d be no water every weekend starting in April. Wondering if I’d misinterpreted the message and trying to find the reason water might be shut off, I took to the internet.
Much of Northern Taiwan’s water comes from the Shihmen reservoir and the persistent drought has been detrimental on its supply.
In response, the government has cycled through two phases of water rationing in an effort to preserve what water is left in the reservoir through restricting water supplied to industries in nine counties and cities in Taiwan to five percent. Despite their efforts, the reservoirs depletion continues at an alarming rate. As Channel News Asia reports, the reservoir has reached new lows and “now has less than 44 million tons of water, which could run out in 40 days without rain.”
Starting April, there Taiwanese government will be taking further steps to ration water, limiting water usage in Taoyuan and other northern counties on weekends. While some may argue the government is taking drastic steps to preserve the water, others disagree and argue the government is not doing enough.
“Delta Electronics Chairman Yancey Hai said: ‘The price of water price is too low. People don’t feel the pinch of paying for it. If the price is higher to a certain extent, then people will pay more attention to it, just like electricity.'”
In addition to the inexpensive water, costing about 30 US cents a ton, Taiwan also suffers from aging infrastructure. Observers say “the aging pipelines are responsible for more than 700 million tons of water lost last year, which was about 20% of Taiwan’s total water supply.”