Kaohsiung has set up a drought response center with the central government, as water levels run low. The city says 50 more water wells will be installed around the city, to provide more than 130,000 tons of water a day. But with Southern Taiwan seeing its worst dry spell in 30 years, major challenges could be coming and not just for agriculture.
Kaohsiung is experiencing a severe shortage of water for irrigation. At a pumping station on the Tsao-kung Canal, water levels have reached a new low, having dropped 1 meter from where they usually stand.
Right now there is about 134,000 cubic meters of water, in contrast with 144,000 in previous years. The shortage is quite severe. Farmers in the irrigation area, especially downstream and in higher areas, are not receiving enough water.
The Water Resources Agency is concerned that rains won’t arrive in time for the irrigation season in March and April. Just half a month ago, farmers reported some of their fields had already dried up, requiring immediate irrigation assistance. With even more severe water shortages on the horizon, Kaohsiung and the central government have established a drought response center, to jointly coordinate water resources and administration.
In Kaohsiung we use about 1.4 million to 1.5 million tons of water every day on average. We launched a preventative plan two years ago, and set up 62 wells around the city that can provide 136,000 tons of water a day. This year we will install another 50 wells, providing 132,000 tons of water a day.
The city’s Water Resources Department plans to install an additional 50 wells along the Gaoping River, which will be able to provide water by the end of April.
Over in Chiayi, water is also running low. Since early February, water levels at Lantan Reservoir have dropped to below 50% capacity.
Recently we’ve been getting less and less rain. It’s been a real headache for businesses. If there is a water shortage, that will impact carwashes.
Water is scarce in Southern Taiwan, which is facing its driest spell in 30 years. Local governments are doing all they can to conserve water, but if the weather doesn’t cooperate, big problems are on the horizon for farmers and every day life.