Taiwan water rationing to be postponed by a week

Taipei city.

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Thanks to last week's rainfall filling reservoirs with fresh water, the introduction of phase-three water rationing has been postponed from April 1 to April 8.

Premier Mao Chi-kuo confirmed the decision when he attended a press conference yesterday.

Phase-three rationing would introduce a system of five days of regular water supply, followed by two days of water being cut in districts of New Taipei City (Banqiao, Xinzhuang and Linkou) and Taoyuan.

The delay for the rationing is also meant to reduce inconvenience for the public during the upcoming Qingming Festival, which runs this weekend from April 3 to April 6.

Considering the public's greater need for water during the holidays, the rationing will be postponed for a week to lessen its impact on people's lives, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) confirmed yesterday.

Referring to the MOEA's data, Mao said last week's northeast monsoon along with the government's effective filling of reservoirs in Central and Northern Taiwan supplied the nation with badly needed water.

The precipitation added about one week's water supply to the Shihmen Reservoir, according to the Drought Central Emergency Operations Center.

Although rationing was postponed for one week, Mao called for the public's continued conservation effort as the island still faces a severe water shortage.

As of 10 a.m. yesterday, the Shihmen Reservoir's water level reached a high of 220.03 meters.

As of 6 a.m., the water level was pegged at 220 meters, accumulating more than 49 million cubic meters of water and put the reservoir at 24 per cent of capacity.

Incentive for the Public to Cut Water Use

Taiwan Water Corporation (TWC) has been instructed to make special arrangements to help areas that are hardest hit by the rationing.

TWC is launching a special discount programme on April 1 to provide incentives for conserving water.

Residents who conserve between 10 and 20 per cent will get 5 per cent off on their water bills; 10 per cent off for those who reduce water consumption by 20 to 30 per cent; and 15 per cent off for those who reduce water use by 30 per cent or more. The programme is valid until the end of July.

In addition, water leak technicians will be dispatched to provide on-site consultations. Schools have been supplied with conservation guidelines and those that increase water consumption by 5 per cent may receive a penalty.

TWC, and central and local governments have all established their own designated drought-battling information platforms online, where local residents may obtain the latest data on the water levels in their areas and corresponding measures provided by competent authorities.