Taipei, Feb. 22 (CNA) The Water Resources Agency (WRA) began cloud seeding on Wednesday ahead of the arrival of a moist cold front over Taiwan, hoping to bring water to several reservoirs in Taiwan that remain at critically low levels.
Cloud seeding was first carried out Wednesday morning by burning silver iodide compounds above catchment areas of the Second Baoshan Reservoir in Hsinchu County.
The move was aimed at taking advantage of the cold front, which was forecast to begin bringing rainfall to Taiwan on Thursday, to generate 1.3 million tons of water for the reservoir, according to the WRA.
Due to a persistent dry spell, the water level in the Second Baoshan Reservoir, which supplies the Hsinchu Science Park, had fallen to 49.88 percent of its capacity as of 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Water reserves in Shimen Reservoir, which supplies Taoyuan and Linkou, Banqiao and Xinzhuang districts in New Taipei, had fallen to below 55 percent of capacity, according to WRA data.
Several other reservoirs in Taiwan, including Nanhua and Tsengwen reservoirs in the south, were also down to below 55 percent of their capacity, according to the data.
The state-run Taiwan Water Corp. said it took the emergency measure last month of diverting 50,000-60,000 cubic meters of water from Taoyuan and 40,000-60,000 cubic meters of water from Miaoli to the Hsinchu area per day to help address water supply shortages there.
The WRA also carried out cloud seeding to induce rainfall near Shimen Reservoir in Taoyuan as well as near Yongheshan, Mingte and Liyutan reservoirs in Miaoli, which were all at less than 60 percent of their capacity.
The cloud seeding strategy was carrier out after the WRA decided Tuesday to implement first-stage water restrictions in Hsinchu, Taoyuan and New Taipei's Linkou, Banqiao and Xinzhuang districts starting March 1 following lower than average rainfall in the areas since December 2016.
(By Kuan Jui-ping and Evelyn Kao)