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NCKU holds conference on water resources to fight drought

Tainan, Taiwan, April 20, 2015

Taiwan is facing its worst drought in over a decade after the lowest rainfall in nearly 70 years. To battle the drought, National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) recently held a conference on water resources with a number of experts and scholars gathering together to offer advice and expertise.

Tactical areas included expanding resources, flood control, water conservation, water distribution, water reservoir dredging, water management as well as education were raised in the conference on April 15.

NCKU President Huey-Jen Jenny Su said that the drought in Taiwan now is a serious issue whereby the university cannot shirk responsibility.

Our scholars are needed for more thorough studies and determine which way to go; we must consider what NCKU can do, how to converge the nation's momentum, according to President Su.

Director-Secretary Chieh-Hsin Lai of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Bureau of Water Conservation indicated that surface water in Taiwan relies almost entirely on precipitation brought in by typhoons; however only 20% of the rain water is preserved, while traditional agriculture uses 72%, industry 9% and households 19% of the collected water.

He also said, Every Taipei citizen consumes each day a volume of 325 liter. In comparison, before it was 250 liters nationwide, hence Taiwan has still room for water reduction.

Taiwan's water resources need financial support, flood control, management, and so on, in order to develop a water minded nation, he added.

The governmental target for water conservation in the last 120 years of people's livelihood has been a yearly preservation of 4 million tons (for every person the daily usage reduced to 240 liter, accounting for a 14% less water transport).

A reduction of the water use in agriculture by more than 120 million ton and a recycling rate of 80% for the industrial zones in general. Hopefully in the future, water usage in the industry will have zero impact on drinking water, so reclaimed water or sea water becomes a reality for industrial use, according to Lai.

He noted, expanding resources includes constructing new water reservoirs and maintaining old ones, water supply distribution in the area, complete water reclamation for the city and in addition coercive action to collect tax from big water spenders in the industry. But also a future city-wide deployment of a water use plan, that requires a uniform water saving system.

Dean of NCKU College of Engineering Pao-Shan Yu said, Taiwan's rainfall is sufficient, but the terrain does not allow for efficient storage.

“In order to increase storage capacity, we must find a suitable river with high banks that can store up a large water volume and exploit the water flow to the lower reaches, so it can slowly seep into the ground water,” according to Yu.

He pointed out that Singapore, in 2008, succeeded in the completion of a coastal reservoir and its feasibility, which should be examined for Taiwan as well.

It is simply Taiwan's administration that must stride for a decision to tackle the drought issue, and establish a task force that selects the most fitting river lay-out and launch a probe there, according to Yu.

National Taiwan University Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering Chin-Lien Yen on the other hand urged government to construct an intimate water mindset, allowing people to understand the value of water.

Nai-Fang Cho, NCKU professor of water conservation said, concerning the drought, we must organize water use well. In hardware by setting up reservoirs and connect them by aquaducts, so they can mutually support each other. In software by putting in use a system and a government-backed master plan.

Yet, more effective is the secure use of groundwater, as well as maintaining proper water levels, establishing fair standards for water use in agriculture and increasing the efficiency of reservoirs by dredging.

Prof. Liang-Cheng Chang of National Chiao Tung University Civil Engineering Department said that the management of water resources in the region needs rethinking from a risk perspective, which implies strengthening each program and adapting to changes as an overall plan.

The Bureau of Water Conservation is the responsible agency, but in water resources they can deploy more of their potential. Water treatment corporations will abide by this authority.

The underlying strategy of water resource allocation is streamlining processes, including agriculture water usage, water dispatch authorization, price setting, water infrastructure maintenance and replacement, water reservoir dredging, up to water conservation. This is the foundation for improvement of water resource distribution efficiency.

Prof. Ching-Pin Tung from National Taiwan University Department of Environmental Engineering suggested the federal government to establish a stimulating environment for study and adapt to changes in the program.

It can set up a timely warning system and bring together a risk management task force, concentrate efforts and create a multi-functional water supply network. Also, promote individual responsibility for industries and society in combating water shortages.

The government can establish a coaching role with industries. The Contingency Operations Plan and the Disaster Contingency Planning Program will resolve the drought period by addressing industries.

Sheng-Hsien Hsieh from Chia-Nan Irrigation Association Coordinator said that precise measures are carried out in irrigation by periodically lowering the output, as well as lowering the intensity.

He also said, Chia-Nan Irrigation Association's annual budget is year after year used to renew facilities and improving and modernizing plans, in order to ensure continuous irrigation of farm land.

Starting since a long time ago, Chia-Nan Irrigation Association achieved fine results in water conservation, thanks to the efforts of its employees and the cooperation with farming villages. Limited capabilities lead to the best efficiency in water resources, he added.

Agency Director, Meng-Yan Li, of Tainan City Water Conservation Agency, noted that constructing new ponds or reservoirs is a slow process, adding up many little efforts in developing land for water reservoirs, in order to curb the water.

As for water reclamation in Taiwan, sea water desalination is related to the weak market demand and the bargain water prices. In the future, corporations can perhaps assess their environmental impact and by request channel into use, according to Li.
Enditem/alex van egmond
Provider : News Center
Date : 2015.04.21
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