Sudden rainfall alleviates the nation's drought

TAIPEI, Taiwan - A spike in rainfall over 24 hours infused the Shihmen Reservoir with 5.83 million cubic meters of water, which is equivalent to seven additional days of water supply.

Nevertheless, the added water will not stave off phase-three water rationing that is scheduled to start on April 1, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday.

The Central Weather Bureau forecast more rainfall for today and tomorrow. Precipitation on the west of the island subsided a little yesterday, but weather forecasters pointed out another mass of air from southern China approaching Taiwan.

The Water Resources Agency under the MOEA has readied itself to carry out another round of cloud seeding to increase precipitation.

Taiwan Water Corporation (TWC) gave a briefing at the MOEA yesterday, saying that phase-one rationing successfully cut down the nation's water use by 3 per cent, while phase-two rationing cut down industrial water use by 14 per cent, and cut down non-industrial water use by 16 per cent.

The goal of phase-three rationing is to reduce water use by 10 per cent. Up to 1.16 million users are expected to be affected.

Multiple Reservoirs Benefit

As of 11 a.m. yesterday, the water level of the Shihmen Reservoir was pegged at 217.6 meters. However, with 4.166 billion cubic meters of water, the reservoir only uses a little over 20 per cent of its full capacity.

The rainfall in Northern Taiwan also added 2.85 million cubic meters of water to the Techi Reservoir, which sits at about 46 per cent capacity.

The precipitation also brought 1.56 million cubic meters of water, or six days of additional water supply, to the Baoshan Second Reservoir, which currently sits at 25 per cent capacity.

Wushe Reservoir, which now is at 17 per cent capacity, was bestowed with 1 million cubic meters of water.

The Liyutan Reservoir received 0.95 million cubic meters of water, equivalent to two days of water supply. The dam is now at 29 per cent capacity.

The Yongheshan Reservoir got 0.7 million cubic meters of water - four to five days of water supply. The dam is at 24 per cent capacity.

No Change to Phase-three Water Rationing

Water hold is rather low for all reservoirs on the western side of Taiwan, except for the Feitsui Reservoir, which is at around 80 per cent capacity, said Lai Chien-hsin, the secretary-general of the Water Resources Agency.

Because of the water holding in the Feitsui Reservoir, Taipei City is not in immediate danger of water shortage.

Since the dry season will last for another while, and considering the uncertainty of future rainfall, the government decided to implement phase-three rationing as planned.