At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang received a briefing from the Ministry of Economic Affairs on efforts to reduce dependence on rainfall by developing artificial sources of water such as reclaimed water and desalinated seawater. The world is undergoing climate change and Taiwan has limited ability to retain rainwater due to its natural terrain, the premier said. To address these issues, the government is strengthening water conservation infrastructure and carrying out holistic resource planning—from upstream to downstream, from fountainhead to faucet. We will strive to build a better water environment that will sustain Taiwan for decades to come, the premier said.
At the upstream level, efforts at conservation and dredging of catchment areas have succeeded at preventing any rise in siltation in nine major water reservoirs, including Shimen Reservoir and Zengwen Reservoir. Nevertheless, the premier said, we must continue to expand dredging efforts and increase the water storage capacity of reservoirs for the future.
Water supply resources are also being developed at the midstream level. The government has completed construction of artificial lakes and subsurface water sources, enabling an additional supply of 500,000 metric tons of water each day. These efforts will continue in order to achieve access to yet another 500,000 metric tons within four years.
At the downstream level where efforts focus on adjusting and managing water at the user's end, the government has already completed the Banqiao-Xinzhuang second phase water supply project as well as the Taoyuan-Hsinchu interconnecting pipeline project. These projects enable the water supply to be adjusted by an additional 700,000 metric tons daily. Looking ahead, the premier said, we still must accelerate the construction of connecting pipelines to raise the flexibility of water supply deployment.
Additionally, the premier said we must employ and promote the technologies at our disposal to generate usable water, including reclaimed water and desalinated seawater. After the completion of all desalination and water treatment plants under planning or construction, we expect to be able to produce an additional 1 million metric tons of clean water per day.
The Executive Yuan on Thursday also passed draft amendments to the Reclaimed Water Resources Development Act to expand the scope of reclaimed water usage by industries and no longer limit usage only to areas at risk of water shortage. This move is expected to strengthen the resilience of water supplies during dry seasons.