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Ma stands firm on plan to cut county's water

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou yesterday stood firm on the city government's plan to reduce water supplies to Taipei County, even though the idea has irked the central government.

Ma said the city's residents deserve the hard-earned benefits of the water rationing measures put in place roughly a month ago.

He saw no reason why the metropolitan city has to bear full responsibility for water supplies to Taipei County, which is under the helm of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

But Ma also added it remains negotiable as to by how much the city will lower its water supplies to the county. The city government announced on May 14 that effective today the city's maximum water supplies to the county will be lowered to 200,000 tonnes per day.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the dragon boat race amid heavy rains, the totally soaked mayor said he had complaints about the shower as it would help soothe drought that has gripped the city for more than a month.

While heavy rains over the past two days did bring in substantial amount of water into the Feitsui and Shihmen dams, it remains far from the point where the water rationing measures can be ended, said Ma.

Kuo Yao-chi, minister without portfolio who is now heading the Cabinet's drought relief center, has threatened to deprive the city government of the power to allocate water resources if Ma chooses to march on his own path.

Kuo said the city government's plan is regrettable, but added she will not kneel down in front of the mayor for water.

According to the Central Weather Bureau, the Feitsui dam registered a water level of 122.5 meter at 6 p.m., down marginally from noon's level.

Taipei city, facing the most serious drought in decades, has decided to put off a plan to impose tighter water control measures thanks to heavy rainfall over the past one to two weeks.

Currently, water supplies to the metropolitan districts are cut off one out of every five days.

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