Taipei, The supply of pipe-borne water for the irrigation of rice fields in Taoyuan, Hsinchu, and Miaoli in northern Taiwan is being suspended due to low levels in the reservoirs that feed those areas, the Water Resource Agency (WRA) said Wednesday.
The water supply is being gradually discontinued, starting Wednesday, and will be cut off entirely by next Wednesday, the WRA said.
The decision was necessary as the accumulated rainfall from June to early October in the catchment areas near the three counties was only 20-60 percent of the average in recent years, with some parts of northern and central Taiwan experiencing record lows, according to Deputy Agriculture Minister Chen Junne-jih (陳駿季).
The supply of water for crop irrigation on some 19,000 hectares of rice farmland in the three counties, therefore, is being suspended until the end of the year, which is expected to affect about 20,000 farmers, Chen said.
With the water supply disruption coming during the second planting season of the year, July to mid-November, the central government will offer subsidies of NT$100,000 (US$3,478) per hectare, up to a total of 13,000 hectares, according to the WRA.
Rice farms in Taiwan typically use about 12,000-15,000 metric tons of water per hectare for irrigation, according to the Council of Agriculture (COA).
Meanwhile, the WRA started general water rationing in Hsinchu City and County, Miaoli County, and Taichung and Taoyuan cities on Wednesday, reducing the water pressure between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., due to low rainfall at reservoirs in western Taiwan.
Cabinet spokesperson Ting Yi-ming (丁怡銘) said Wednesday that the government measures are meant to ensure adequate water supply to industries and households until the annual plum rain season starts next May.
Due to climate change, it is the first time since 1964 that Taiwan has not experienced a typhoon during the wet season, which runs from May to October, according to the WRA.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel