News Asia reports on the water shortage in Taiwan.

Taiwan will further tighten water supply as the island is suffering from its worst ever drought. Starting April 1, Taiwan will cut water supply in the northern Xinbei and Taoyuan cities for two days a week. Nearly 3 million people are expected to be affected.

Taiwanese Premier Mao Chi Kuo said: “Based on what the Central Weather Bureau has told me, this is probably the worst drought in Taiwan’s history.” Taiwan started a second phase of water rationing in February by restricting supply to industrial users by 5% in nine cities and counties.

But the efforts have failed to ease the drought as water levels for major reservoirs across the island continue to hit new lows. For instance, Shihmen Reservoir – a key to water supply in northern Taiwan – now has less than 44 million tons of water, which could run out in 40 days without rain.

Drought is really frightening. Drought means crop failures, and crop failures mean famine and war. Drought also means death from not enough water to drink.


  1. John Morales says

    It’s an island; i.e. it’s surrounded by water.

    (Desalination/purification is energy-expensive, true)

  2. says

    John Morales (#1) –

    Desalination/purification is energy-expensive

    Electricity not the problem, Taiwan’s is cheap and plentiful, provided by nuclear power. The problem is that it for thousands of years this has been a wet sub-tropical island, hammered by typhoons and regular rainfall. Many cities on the coast (Keelung, Ilan, Hualien) have rainfail as many as half the days of the year. Now they don’t. There are no desalination plants because they were never needed.

    RobW (#2) –
    It’s easy for Turton to talk about “economies of scale” without it affecting himself. He obviously doesn’t know about Taiwan’s economic disparity, how raising prices will hit the poor very hard. Already, the poor drink tap water which many consider unsafe to drink, unlike most who buy bottled water or filters to purify it. What happens when the taps turn off and those people have nothing to drink?

    Unlike the 23 million citizens, I can bail, I’ve got somewhere else I can go (home). They don’t. It might actually be better for them if I did, one less mouth consuming water. I’ve already seriously cut down on shaving and showering (twice a week each) and reuse dishwater for an entire day, but that may not be enough.

  3. John Morales says

    left0ver1under, my point was that there’s no shortage of water, but rather a shortage of potable water.

  4. lorn says

    1) Stop using potable water to wash the shit. We use potable water to transport sewage to a plant where it has to be treated to make it clean enough to throw away. Separation of urine, rich in potassium, nitrogen compounds and phosphorus is vital but it makes composting feces practical and largely inoffensive. Add carbonaceous materials, like sawdust or sphagnum moss, stir a bit, and keep air moving and in a few days the result is rich black earth that smells like good rich dirt. No need to compost the urine. It can be added to irrigation water and makes a good fertilizer.

    2) Stop trying to green deserts for anything but vital food production. LA without irrigation would be a desert. Let it be a desert. Stop insisting on green lawns, parks, and golf courses in the desert. If people want a pretty front yard make it a pretty desert front yard cactus and other desert plants, along with strategically placed rocks and gravel paths can look good.

    3) Open water supplies, canals, lakes, reservoirs, and pools that are not part of the natural landscape should be tented, domed, or covered with ‘lily pads’ or other materials that limit evaporation. Presently a large percentage of the water delivered by canals is lost to evaporation.

    4) Where irrigation is used it should be drip or other efficient application methods and underneath a ground cover that further limits losses to evaporation.

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