TAIPEI - Taipei City has set a criterion of turbidity where tap water supply will be cut off during typhoon periods.
When it exceeds 12,000 nephelometric turbidity units (NTU), water supply will be cut off, according to new guidelines made in response to complaints from citizens about having to use murky water during Typhoon Soudelor about two weeks ago.
The Taipei Water Department (TWD) has also called on citizens to save water bracing for the approaching Typhoon Goni, which is expected to affect Taiwan during the weekend.
Chen Chi-hsiang, head of the TWD, explained that at 6,000 NTU, the water processing plants will reduce intake of raw water, which will result in the suspension of tap water supply to more than 200,000 households in areas in New Taipei City, including Banqiao, Shenkeng, Xinzhuang, Taishan and Wugu.
When the processing plants completely stop taking raw water at more than 12,000 NTU, households without their own water storage facilities in New Taipei (Yonghe, Xindian, and Xizhi districts) and Taipei (Shihlin, Tianmu, Beitou, and Muzha districts) will immediately be left without tap water, according to Chen.
Within 24 hours, tap water supply to more than 1.3 million households will be completely cut off, Chen added.
It will take some time before water supply resumes, according to the TWD.
If the processing plants have stopped taking raw water for six hours, it will take about three hours to resume supply to the households. If the suspension lasts for 24 hours, it will take two days, the TWD said.
When tap water supply is cut off, residents can obtain water at 21 public water supply stations, the TWD said, adding it will also dispatch water trucks to communities, as well as hospitals.
Residents in the Greater Taipei area have given mixed responses to the new guidelines. Some say they would rather tolerate murky water than a complete cut-off, while others say they would save up water beforehand rather than spend money cleaning mud-covered water storage facilities afterward.
During Soudelor, the TWD did not cut off water supply although NTU reached 30,000. Residents in Greater Taipei had to use murky water for three days.