Most Taiwanese firms can handle 10 per cent water cut: Ministry

File photo of reduced water levels in Shihmen Dam.

TAIPEI - If the government reduces the water supply by 10 per cent, two thirds of local companies will be able to handle the rationing, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday.

With a continuous shortage of water, the government said it is not ruling out the option of further reducing water supply by 10 per cent, up from 7.5 per cent.

The government stepped up rationing just last Friday, from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent, on industrial users in New Taipei City (Banqiao and Linkou Districts), and Taoyuan and Miaoli Counties.

A preliminary survey of factories nationwide found 66 per cent of companies are able to endure a 10-per cent water rationing, while the other 34 per cent must make operational adjustments to cope with the rationing.

The hardest hit will be the electronics, chemical material, base metal, textile, petrochemical and paper industries, said the MOEA's Industrial Development Bureau.

The survey asked companies to what extent can they withstand water rationing: by 7.5 per cent, 10 per cent, 15 per cent, 15 per cent, 20 per cent, or another amount specified by companies.

A 7.5-per cent cut on water supply will not impact production capacity, as companies can make allocation changes or implement water conservation measures.

However, a 10-per cent cut will exert too much pressure on some of the companies, according to MOEA officials.

The MOEA Calls For a 5-Percent Cut in Water Use

The MOEA said yesterday that if every resident on the island cuts their water use by 5 per cent, Taiwan will have a better chance of averting the phase-three rationing before the end of May.

The MOEA is enlisting support from both central and local governments in its advocacy of curbing water use.

The Water Resources Agency of the MOEA held a press conference yesterday, in which methods to save water use were promulgated.

The top ten water uses are toilet flushing, bathing in a tub, floor washing, washing machine use, teeth brushing, face washing, doing dishes, watering flowers, rice washing and wasted drinking water, the Water Resources Agency pointed out.

The nation uses on average 270 liters of water per person per day, and the MOEA has set the goal of trimming it down to 250 liters.

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) said Taiwan may be seeing the worst drought in more than a decade. Weather data shows 13 local plains have seen the lowest rainfall in 67 years.

Severe drought is seen from Shihmen Dam in the north to Mudan Dam in the south, as drought has become prevalent in Western Taiwan, Yang said.