[quote]Water rationing might be imposed in northern and southern regions of the country early next month if there is not enough rain in the coming weeks to break a dry spell that has affected Taiwan since the beginning of the year, Water Resources Agency (WRA) Deputy Director Wu Yueh-si (吳約西) said on Thursday.
The agency plans to make an announcement on water rationing on Aug. 10 if the water shortage continues, Wu said following a drought meeting earlier in the day with officials from more than 30 government agencies, including the Central Weather Bureau, the Council of Agriculture and Taiwan Water Co.
Wu said the amount of rainfall this year as of Wednesday was 57 percent of the average amount over the past few years. Rainfall in the water catchment area of the Shihmen Reservoir in Taoyuan County reached only about 13 percent of the past average, he said.
“Should there be insufficient rain in the coming weeks, the WRA will call a meeting on Aug. 10 and announce water rationing measures for Taipei City and for other regions of southern Taiwan,” he said.
The measures would include a halt to water supplies for irrigation from the Shihmen Reservoir, while controls on total water volume dispensed would be imposed on the Tsengwen and Wushantou reservoirs in Tainan County, he said.
[quote]A dry plum rain season, compounded with the low numbers of typhoons so far, has driven Taiwan’s water volume to a dangerously low level. According to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB), the combined total rainfall in May and June is only 279.6 mm, a little more than half of the 500 mm year-on-year.
In July to the present, northern Taiwan has experienced only 10 percent of the average rainfall for the month. Only on less than half of days in the present month of July has the average amount of rain fallen in central and southern Taiwan.
Precipitations have dropped to new lows in several water stations. Stations in Taipei and Hengchuen have even seen the lowest rainfalls in a century, according to the CWB.
The CWB pointed out that while typhoons are the main source of rain in Taiwan, the six storms formed so far this year have all failed to bolster the island’s water needs. Lin Hsiu-wen, deputy director of the CWB’s forecast center, pointed out that the tropical cloudcluster system developing in the Philippines will not become a tropical storm in the near future and the situation also is similar in areas near Guam.
Low water prices result in the careless uses of water, Lee said. The average Taiwan person uses 320 liters of water everyday. In comparison, a person living in Western Europe uses only 150 liters of water daily, Lee said.
Taiwan’s businesses have even less incentives to save water as they receive a better bargain in water fees.
Ouyang Chiao-fuei, profession of the Graduate Institute of Environmental Engineering, National Central University, said in the China Times that while the government would raise prices to reflect the value of water, a water price hike is always made into a thorny political issue by lawmakers. Without adequate revenues, Ouyang pointed out, the TWC cannot upgrade its equipment, resulting in a water leakage rate of a staggering 30 percent.
Get the big water containers ready, folks.