Tainan establishes drought operations center to address water shortage

Tainan established an operations center Wednesday in response to a drought that has gripped the city since 2022 and forced it to lower water pressure, the city government said on Thursday.

In a statement, mayor Huang Wei-che (???) said southern Taiwan experienced its lowest annual precipitation for 30 years in 2022, noting that the government has increased Tainan's water alert level from "yellow alert" to the more severe "orange alert" on Wednesday.

With the severity of Tainan's alert increasing from yellow to orange, the supply of water for commercial use will be limited.

Industrial users who consume more than 1,000 cubic meters of water per month should aim to curb their use by 10 percent, Huang said.

Industrial users consuming more than 1,000 cubic meters of water per day who fail to achieve a 10 percent reduction will have their water supply cut off, Huang added.

Tech parks and industrial zones will have usage reductions enforced and managed collectively by the Ministry of Economic Affairs' Industrial Development Bureau and Taiwan's National Science and Technology Council, Huang pointed out.

For nonindustrial businesses that consume over 1,000 cubic meters of water per month, such as swimming pools, car washes, saunas and aquatic therapy specialists, the monthly reduction target of 10 percent will be gradually increased to 20 percent.

As monthly household water consumption does not typically exceed 1,000 cubic meters, Tainan households will continue to have their water pressure lowered from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next day rather than have supply limited, Huang added.

In another statement released on Feb. 23, the city government cited Central Weather Bureau data that a typhoon has not made landfall in Taiwan for 1,272 days, and the city has not had more than 200 millimeters of rainfall in a 24-hour period for 558 days.

On Jan. 1, the Water Resources Agency's (WRA) Southern Region Water Resources Office unsuccessfully attempted to seed clouds in the area to boost the water servers of Tsengwen Reservoir.

Tsengwen Reservoir, which is connected to Wu Shan Tou Reservoir, normally releases water to the latter to produce electricity, and the water is then distributed to the greater Tainan area and the Jianan plains.

According to the WRA's website, as of 7 p.m., the water level at none of the neighboring reservoirs was at 50 percent of capacity or higher.

Wu Shan Tou Reservoir is currently at 37.94 percent of capacity, with 30.05 million cubic meters of usable water available, Tsengwen is at 22.37 percent capacity with 111.38 million cubic meters, and Nanhua Reservoir is at 48.16 percent with nearly 43.1 million cubic meters.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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