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South Taiwan could see water shortage by end of April: official

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Southern Taiwan faces a water shortage if the region does not receive enough rainfall by the end of April, the Southern Region Water Resources Office said yesterday, adding that it has set up an emergency response team to handle the situation.

Lin Yuan-peng (林元鵬), a Water Resource Agency (WRA) official, said that the dry season has arrived in Southern Taiwan and many reservoirs are recording low levels.

Lin added that Greater Kaohsiung's water supply system largely depends on the water level of multiple rivers, rendering the system somewhat fragile.

The Zengwen (曾文) and Wusanto (烏山頭) reservoirs in Tainan currently have 210 million tons of water, Lin said, which is less than 75 million tons compared with historical records in the past for the same period of the year.

Lin went on to say that there has not been much rainfall in Southern Taiwan and so reservoirs and river water levels are hitting a low.

He said Chiayi, Tainan and Pingtung have enough water to last them until the end of April.

As part of maintaining water supplies in Southern Taiwan, from November 2012 the Southern Region Water Resource Office increased its monitoring of the area's water levels, Lin said.

Lin added that the WRA has set up water allocation limits for industrial and domestic use. It has also enhanced irrigation management and sought to improve water-saving outcomes.

Taiwan Water Corp. has also strengthened cross-zone water dispatch management, Lin said.

Based on previous experience, according to Lin, water shortages in the Greater Kaohsiung area usually appear between March and May, therefore the WRA will ask hotels and schools to educate people about saving water.

The WRA also asked Taiwan Water Corp. to prepare a water supply backup system.

Yang Ming-feng (楊明風), the head of the Chianan irrigation association, said based on the current water level in the Wusanto reservoir, if the dry weather remains, the area will encounter a water shortage by the end of May.

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