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WRA begins cloud-seeding in South Taiwan

TAIPEI -- The Water Resource Agency (WRA) began cloud-seeding in southern Taiwan on Thursday as part of its efforts to deal with a water shortage in that part of the country.

Rainfall in the south has been below normal so far this year and Zengwen and Wusanto reservoirs in the Tainan area are at 25 percent capacity with a total of 130 million tons of water, the WRA said.

At Nanhua reservoir, the water level is at 30 percent capacity, with 30 million tons of water, the agency said.

Starting at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, the agency lit six cloud seeding flares in an attempt to induce rainfall over southern Taiwan.

By 6:00 p.m., 13.4 mm of rain had fallen in the catchment area, of little help to ease water shortage.

The WRA called for public efforts to conserve water in order to avoid — or at least delay — the need for second-stage water rationing in the region.

At present, water pressure is being reduced at night in southern Taiwan in the agency's first-stage water rationing measures.

Meanwhile, the South Region Water Resources Office, which held a meeting Thursday on the current state of water reserves, is closely monitoring the water levels and will meet again April 1 to discuss possible drought contingency measures, the WRA said.

These may include further conservation by means of second-stage of water rationing, the agency said.

WRA Deputy Director-general Tien Chiao-ling said, however, that the water supply is expected to remain stable in southern Taiwan by the end of April.

The Central Weather Bureau has forecast rain in southern Taiwan during next week's Tomb Sweeping holiday, the WRA noted.

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With plow in hand, a farmer irrigates his field with limited water supply. Areas in Tainan are facing a drought recently, pressuring authorities to implement a water reservation plan on farmers, while advising the general public to conserve water when possible. (CNA)

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