Wa­ter head gave OK to sup­ply: Ko


Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je ( ) yesterday said that the city’s wa­ter depart­ment head was ul­ti­mately be­hind the de­ci­sion to sup­ply murky wa­ter af­ter Typhoon Soude­lor hit last week.

The city ad­min­is­tra­tion has been un­der fire as tap wa­ter in the Taipei area re­mains im­pure due to high con­cen­tra­tions of silt and ques­tions over cri­sis man­age­ment re­mained unan­swered.

Ko made the state­ment af­ter a post mu­nic­i­pal meet­ing press con­fer­ence yesterday, seem­ing to place the re­spon­si­bil­ity over the re­cent out­cry on Chen Chin-hsiang (

) who heads the Taipei City Wa­ter Depart­ment.

The mayor added

that Chen had sub­mit­ted the first ver­sion of an eval­u­a­tion re­port of how the depart­ment man­aged the typhoon which also in­cluded a new stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dure for fu­ture in­ci­dents. Ko in­di­cated that Chen’s plan in­cluded “too many prob­a­bil­i­ties” which would ham­per the im­ple­men­ta­tion of ac­tions, and was hence sent back to him for re­vi­sions.

Ac­cord­ing to Ko, start­ing from this past Thurs­day, once wa­ter murk­i­ness ex­ceeds a grade of 6000 NTUs ( Neph­elo­met­ric Tur­bid­ity Units), the city will move to re­duce wa­ter pres­sure as well as the vol­ume of wa­ter let into the sys­tem. He said that a new eval­u­a­tion re­port will be made public next week in or­der to ad­dress con­tin­u­ing public con­cerns over the is­sue.

In re­sponse to com­ments made by for­mer In­te­rior Min­is­ter Lee Hong-yuan ( ) that silted wa­ter was un­re­lated to soil con­ser­va­tion, Ko re­but­ted by in­di­cat­ing that heavy rains in the area had mud­died the wa­ter of the Nan­shi River ( ) while stat­ing that a re­port on the is­sue would in­di­cate the rea­sons be­hind the murky wa­ter.

In re­sponse to al­le­ga­tions that the wa­ter depart­ment was put on hold for over two hours while await­ing a de­ci­sion on the so­cial chat ap­pli­ca­tion Line over whether to pump wa­ter, Ko said he had per­son­ally asked Chen to con­firm that this had not taken place. Ko did not elab­o­rate on re­porters’ ques­tions on a pos­si­ble public re­leas­ing of Line chat tran­scripts in­volv­ing the de­ci­sion-mak­ing of the city gov­ern­ment dur­ing the typhoon.

Kuom­intang ( KMT) Leg­is­la­tor and cau­cus Deputy Sec­re­taryGen­eral Lee Gui- min ( ) blasted Ko and his ad­min­is­tra­tive team for fail­ing to gov­ern the city ac­cord­ing to reg­u­la­tions, lead­ing to city res­i­dents hav­ing to en­dure the af­ter­math and sub­se­quent health risks due to the poor drink­ing wa­ter qual­ity.

The mayor came un­der fire ear­lier this week when it was re­vealed by his wife’s Face­book ac­count that he spent most of his time at his res­i­dence dur­ing the typhoon’s sweep across Tai­wan, rather than at the city’s emer­gency com­mand cen­ter. Ko de­fended him­self by stat­ing he was in com­mand at the time and used Line to con­duct mu­nic­i­pal mat­ters and co­or­di­nate ef­forts in re­sponse to the typhoon.

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