Kaohsiung halts water rationing after one month

Taiwan launched water rationing in some major cities as the island battled its worst drought in over a decade, following the lowest rainfall in nearly 70 years.

TAIPEI - With enough water supply in the Gaoping River Dam, the government decided to halt water restrictions in Kaohsiung next week for the third time since phase-three rationing was introduced at the beginning of this month.

The Water Resources Agency yesterday convened a meeting on the state of the water supply in Kaohsiung and Tainan.

Thanks to the recent rainfall in Kaohsiung's mountainous areas, the water level of the Gaoping River -- Kaohsiung's main source of water -- has remained stable and may well continue until the next week, said WRA Secretary-General Lai Chien-hsin.

As the water flow in the Gaoping River Dam registers at 11.4 cubic meters per second, above the 8.1-cubic-meter threshold, the WRA announced the pause on rationing.

Under the third-stage rationing, Kaohsiung's water supply would be cut every Tuesday and Wednesday. The government reviews the water state every Friday, and if the water flow falls below the required threshold, the rationing will be resumed for the following week.

More Rainfall to Come Next Week

Another weather front will arrive in Taiwan around May 20, which may bring a great amount precipitation across the island, according to the Central Weather Bureau.

Nevertheless, given the low water level in the Gaoping River, the government is not yet calling off the third-stage rationing in Kaohsiung completely.

As of yesterday, the WRA's water supply signal for the Gaoping River is still kept at "red" on a five-colour system, meaning water is still in short supply.

The monsoon front that arrives next Wednesday may not only quench the island's thirst, but also lead to flooding, according to the Central Weather Bureau.

The good news is, with enough precipitation around the Shihmen Reservoir, water restrictions imposed in the north may even be terminated completely, said one WRA official.

Phase-two Rationing Still in Effect for Tainan

Tainan is currently undergoing phase-two rationing, and the government will decide whether to introduce phase-three rationing for the city on Friday, May 22.

The Nanhua Reservoir, a main source of water supply for the city, is using only 14.5 per cent of its full capacity.

However, yesterday's inflow grew by 60,000 to 70,000 tons compared with several days ago; the average daily outflow has also dropped from 450,000 tons to 300,000 tons, thanks to greater water conservation efforts made by various parties, said the WRA.

Also, water supply from the Jiahsien Dam for farmland irrigation will be cut off on May 20, and then be re-directed to the straining Nanhua Reservoir, said WRA chief Lai.