What is being called the worst drought in almost 70 years means rolling water outages could be implemented in Taoyuan and western parts of New Taipei (Banqiao, Xinzhuang, Linkou, and presumably Yingge, Sanxia, and Tucheng) – and it could come as early as April. Authorities are now worried that the regular plum rains (梅雨) in May could turn out to be bogus, leaving northern Taiwaners high and dry at least until the rainy season in summer.
The outages are expected to be two days without water, followed by four or five days with regular water supplies. (Plan your showers accordingly) If things continue to worsen, and they likely will, Vice Econ Minister Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) warns it could be increased to two-days on, two-days off.
I posted this in politics (feel free to move to Living in Taiwan, mods) because I think it’s worth having a discussion about how Taiwan’s urban planners (ha) have squeezed people into every conceivable nook and cranny on the island without taking into account whether the region can support that many people. It reminds me of my own home of Los Angeles, which nearly every year goes through a drought in the summertime. We import a huge amount of water from Northern California (it’s a contentious issue), but even that’s proving difficult to come by. It really makes you wonder who thought it was a good idea to build a city in the middle of the desert anyway – and why you would put lawns in front of the houses there with anything more water-hungry than cacti.
If such problems persist, a number of Taiwanese cities could face problems. Shimen Reservoir is at its lowest point maybe ever; Taipei’s Feicui Reservoir seems to be doing better, but many other areas in central-southern Taiwan are facing similar crises. Things get worse with climate change. You may want to invest in some buckets and catch rain water in the future.