North could face deeper water cut: MOEA
The Economics Ministry said that if the drought does not ease, the Central Emergency Operation Center ( ) will consider tighter rationing in Northern Taiwan, possibly cutting off the water supply for two days every two days.
Third-phase water rationing began yesterday in Hsinchu, Taoyuan and parts of New Taipei, amid the worst drought in more than 60 years. For an indefinite period of time, the state-run water company will cut off the supply to households and industries for two days a week.
The Central Emergency Operation Center will consider further tightening restrictions, possibly cutting water for two days every four days or for two days every two days, Vice Economics Minister Yang Wei-fu ( ) said yesterday.
The crisis center will deliberate at its fourth meeting on Taiwan’s water supply situation at the end of April, he said.
Also yesterday, Yang said the MOEA will decide Friday whether to begin phase- three rationing in Greater Kaohsiung, where the Gaoping River ( ) has dropped to half its average volume.
Water is Clean: EPA
The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA, ) reported yesterday that drinking water in regions hit by rationing is in compliance with safety standards. The EPA released its latest inspections report on purified water in New Taipei City, Taoyuan City, Hsinchu City, Hsinchu Coun- ty, Miaoli County, Greater Taichung, Changhua County, Greater Tainan, Greater Kaohsiung and other regions under the water rationing.
The drinking water in these regions is in compliance with the central government’s quality standards, according to the EPA.
Yuan Shao-ying ( ), director-general of the EPA’s Department of Environmental Sanitation and Toxic Substances, said it is not advisable to drink water from streams or other unknown sources in times of drought.
Yuan also urged the public to check for a food safety label when purchasing bottled water and to not store water for extended periods of time. Water should be boiled once before drinking, Yuan said.
Water Resources Agency (
) Chief Secretary Lai Chienhsin ( ) said they are making preparations for tighter rationing while also carrying out measures to avert it.
But the seasonal rain forecast is unclear and unpredictable, Lai said.
Late yesterday, the center had aborted a cloud-seeding program when an expected continental cold front dissipated ahead of forecast, he said.
The Water Resources Agency said it is monitoring the reservoirs and the results of phase-three rationing in northern Taiwan, which began yesterday. The Shihmen Reservoir ( ), where the drought’s effects are most serious, was at 24.58 percent capacity at 11 a.m. yesterday.