Taipei city govt to blame for dirty tap water


TAIPEI, Taiwan --The central government said yesterday that the Taipei City Government might not have managed water distribution to the best of its ability, as tap water turned murky in Taipei in the aftermath of Typhoon Soudelor.

Taipei City regularly relies on Nanshi River (南勢溪) and Feitsui Dam (翡翠水庫) as its main source of water supply. Instead of using Nanshi River which has a high concentration of silt, the city government should have channeled water from Feitsui Dam instead, said Vice Economic Affairs Minister Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫).

Yang suspected Taipei Water Department had not noticed the muddy water conditions in the river's upper stream before directing it to Taipei's residents.

Currently, Feitsui Dam has very clean water, Yang said, implying Taipei City could have used its reserves. Taipei Water Department might have mismanaged the problem and should do some self-examination, Yang added.

Yang's remark appeared to be countering Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je's (柯文哲) statement made a day earlier. Given Nanshi River's muddy water, the central government should review and improve the river's soil and water preservation practices, Ko said.

Taipei Water Department Denial

Taipei Water Department's head Chen Chin-hsiang (陳錦祥) said in an interview yesterday that it is not feasible for his department to use one of the two water sources exclusively.

In addition, the water's turbidity reached a historically high level in a matter of just two hours, making it difficult for the water department to adapt quickly, Chen said.

In regards to what contributed to Nanshi River's murky water, Vice Minister Yang said an investigation is under way. A major landslide or a barrier lake that might have formed in the upper stream are potential causes.

The Soil and Water Conservation Bureau and the Central Emergency Operation Center said they will release relevant information within one to two days and team up to solve problems in the future.

High Precipitation in Wulai

On a separate note, the Water Resources Agency noted that Wulai District logged 722 millimeters of precipitation within 24 hours, second only to a record high rainfall brought by Typhoon Matsa in 2005.

However, the rainfall measuring station accumulated 632 millimeters within 12 hours to set a new record, the Water Resources Agency said.

Past experience shows local primal forests are bound to have landslides when precipitation exceeds the 600-millimeter threshold. As such, the chance is high that Feitsui Dam will suffer substantial damage, Yang said.

The director added that the discovery of more artefacts would be displayed to the public.