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Rolling water outages could come late May: Economics Ministry
【Economics】2015-02-10  21:10:55
Taipei, Feb. 10 (CNA) With phase-two water rationing set to hit major consumers of water Feb. 26, a vice economics minister announced Tuesday that rolling water outages could hit different parts of the country by late May if rainfall does not pick up.

Vice Economics Minister Yang Wei-fuu (楊偉甫) said the eight areas where major consumers will face phase-two water rationing are the districts of Linkou, Banqiao and Xinzhuang in New Taipei; Taoyuan; Hsinchu; Miaoli; Taichung; northern parts of Changhua County; Tainan; and Kaohsiung.

Water levels in reservoirs along the northwest and central parts of the country have continued to dip due to scant rainfall, and the government hopes that phase-three rationing -- the level at which the general public starts to feel the crunch -- can be staved off.

But considering the dire situation at many reservoirs, "we cannot guarantee 100 percent that we won't enter phase three," he said.

Speaking at the central government's latest drought response meeting, the vice minister said that since the last meeting on Jan. 29, only northeastern and northern Taiwan recorded rainfall, but not enough to relieve the drought.

Phase one rationing means reduced water pressure at night, while phase two restricts supplies to consumers who regularly use more than 1,000 cubic meters of water per month. Phase three stops water supplies to specific areas on a rotational basis.

Southern Changhua, Yunlin County and Chiayi County in central and southern Taiwan will enter the first stage of water rationing also on Feb. 26.

As of Tuesday, Shimen Reservoir, which provides water to millions of people in Taoyuan, parts of New Taipei, and parts of Hsinchu, was at 38.34 percent capacity, according to the Water Resources Agency.

Zengwen Reservoir, located on the border of Chiayi County and Tainan and Taiwan's largest reservoir, was at 49.32 percent capacity.

(By Huang Chiao-wen and Lilian Wu)
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