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First-phase water rationing in northern Taiwan may be lifted: WRA

2017/04/23 19:20:27

(CNA file photo)

Taipei, April 23 (CNA) The Water Resources Agency (WRA) will meet Friday to decide whether to lift first-stage water rationing measures imposed in northern Taiwan following the heavy rainfall that fell in areas north of central Taiwan in recent days, the WRA said on Sunday.

A weather front and strengthening northeasterly winds brought heavy rainfall to northern Taiwan on Friday and then spread to central Taiwan on Saturday and is not expected to ease until Tuesday, according to the Central Weather Bureau.

The precipitation over the past few days has helped raise the water levels of several reservoirs in Taiwan, said WRA Deputy Director Wang Yi-feng (王藝峰), and first-phase water rationing in northern Taiwan may no longer be necessary.

First-stage water rationing has already been implemented in the cities of Taoyuan and Hsinchu and in Linkou, Banqiao and Xinzhuang districts in New Taipei in the north, as well as Kaohsiung, Chiayi and Tainan in the south.

Under first-stage water rationing, tap water pressure is reduced during off-peak hours between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. every day, according to the WRA.

WRA data showed that from April 18 to 7 a.m. Sunday, rainfall was primarily concentrated in northern and central Taiwan, with Shimen Reservoir in Taoyuan receiving accumulated rainfall of 10.4 centimeters.

The rainfall generated about 23 million cubic meters of water for the drought-stricken reservoir, or enough to supply water for an additional 12 days, bringing the water level in the reservoir up to nearly 55 percent of capacity, according to the data.

There was far less precipitation in southern Taiwan, leaving reservoirs there still suffering from low water reserves.

Renyitan and Lantan reservoirs in Chiayi each collected about 250,000 cubic meters of water, equal to about a two-day supply.

Two of the most important reservoirs in southern Taiwan -- Wushantou and Tsengwen reservoirs -- remained at less than 20 percent of capacity despite each collecting 2.5 million cubic meters of water, also equal to about a two-day supply.

Nanhua Reservoir collected about 500,000 cubic meters of water, equal to 1.2 days of supply.

Wang said the rainfall over the past few days has helped to quench the thirst for water in central Taiwan but did little to help ease the water shortage in the south.

Although a new weather front due to arrive on Wednesday could bring more much-needed rainfall, Wang said the key to ending Taiwan's persistent water issues will be how much rain is brought by the plum rains and wet season in May and June.

(By Huang Li-yun and Evelyn Kao)