Water restrictions may be needed in parts of Taiwan: agency
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Water restrictions may have to be implemented in some parts of northern and southern Taiwan if precipitations continue to be low, the agency managing reservoirs said yesterday.
March 7, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
The Water Resources Agency (WRA) said Shihmen and Tsengwen dams — which cater to northern and southern Taiwan respectively — recorded their second lowest ever rainfalls in January.
Water levels at the two dams have been fast falling, partly as a result of great demand from the agricultural sector during spring, WRA said.
If precipitations do not improve, the two dams will enter the first stage of water restrictions, under which pressure for night-time supply will reduce, the agency said. It stressed that the first stage measures will not affect daily household supply.
The WRA made the remarks after a reported row between the agency and a chief forecaster from the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).
Cheng Ming-tien, head of the CWB's forecast center, earlier this week noted that spring in Taiwan this year has been obviously dry, but questioned why water officials had not yet urged the nation to conserve water.
He asked whether the WRA was failing to do this because of some “unspeakable” reasons.
Some reports claimed that WRA was angered by Cheng's remarks, asking what weathermen know about reservoir management.
WRA's deputy chief, Tien Chiao-ling, was cited by the United Daily News as saying that the agency has been following the regulations managing the dams, and there has been no violation concerning water supply since the second half of last year.
Tien noted that Taiwan's dams can hold about 2.4 billion metric meters of water. If they have to meet needs from various places, all the dams will have to be filled 2.1 times on average every year, the official said.
But Tien added that different dams have their own situations. The Shihmen Dam has to supply water for household use, industrial purposes and irrigation, and therefore it must be filled 4.5 times every year, Tien said.
Water levels at Shihmen will drop drastically if rainfalls are unusually low for two to three months, Tien said.