With the Lunar New Year just around the corner, people are praying for good luck, economic prosperity and peaceful lives in the coming Year of the Snake.
Interior Minister Lee Hung-yuan sounded an alarm at a forum a few days ago, however, that there might be "no fair weather, no fair winds" for Taiwan in the future because of climate change.
Worse still, the minister warned that water storage capacities in Taiwan's reservoirs could fall to half of the current amount by 2030 due to heavy sediment buildup.
This will definitely not be able to meet the water needs of the 23 million people of Taiwan, Lee warned.
We believe the minister was not making alarmist remarks. The water supply crisis is very real. It is an urgent problem that needs more than words to resolve.
Our Water Resources Agency knew about the water shortage problem more than three decades ago. It drew up a strategic water supply and distribution system based on regional and seasonal precipitation trends.
Little progress, however, has been made on a program to divert water from the south of the country to the north or vice versa in times of need over the ensuing years.
We have also lagged far behind the global standard in terms of the rate of rainwater utilization. Taiwan's average annual rainfall exceeds 90 billion tons, less than 20 percent of which is actually used.
With our water consumption growing increasingly and the global warming issue deteriorating, we could be facing not only a water crisis but also food and energy crises in the next three decades if we fail to take proactive steps to address the water shortage problem.
We should never forget to take the water supply situation into consideration whenever an industrial or commercial development project in a specific area is proposed.
The Taoyuan aviation city development project, for instance, should not ignore the potential water shortfall woes it might cause in the Taoyuan area, where there is no water supply source other than the Shihmen Reservoir.
In a nutshell, if we want prosperous and peaceful lives, we need to adopt a development style in harmony with the natural environment. (Feb. 3, 2013)
(By Sofia Wu)