Premier Su Tseng-chang on Thursday received a Ministry of Economic Affairs briefing on the government's response to the severe drought currently affecting much of Taiwan. With severe water conditions, the government must plan ahead of time to replace aging water pipes and dredge reservoirs quickly. Meanwhile, the public should manage and use water conservatively, he said.
Taiwan receives large amounts of rainfall, but because of the island's topography, water runs down rapidly from tall mountains into small drainage basins so that water resources flow quickly into the ocean. The problem is exacerbated by extreme climate patterns: Taiwan received no typhoons at all last year, and rainfall has been very sparse so far this year. If conditions do not improve, the water shortage situation will turn critical, the premier said.
Over the past several years Taiwan has seen many improvements as the government worked to develop new water sources, conserve water, reallocate water supplies and expand reserve capacity. Nevertheless, the premier instructed government agencies to continue developing a wide range of water resources, such as artificial lakes, pond water, drought-resistant wells, reclaimed water and subsurface water. Agencies should also take advantage of the dry season to dredge reservoirs to expand their water-holding capacities, and should improve water pipe leakage rates to save more water. New methods may also be employed to increase backup water supplies, such as seawater desalination measures, or water reclamation using reverse osmosis technology, Premier Su said.
Finally, the premier said that cherishing water is the only correct approach to conservancy. He called on all citizens to come together to save water.