Central Taiwan turns off the tap to curb harshest drought in decades

Published (HKT): 2021.04.06 18:31

Several central counties in Taiwan implemented water-use restrictions on Tuesday to weather the most potent dry spell to devastate the subtropical island in 73 years, which will last at least until the start of the rain and typhoon season in May.

Water supplies are suspended for 48 hours every five days in Taichung and Miaoli, with three key reservoirs currently at less than 10% capacity. It is estimated that 1.06 million households will be affected by the restrictions.

According to data from the Taiwan Water Resources Agency, the island recorded a total of 752 millimeters of rainfall from June last year to February this year — 28% less than 2015 — the last time water rationing was implemented.

The island stored 930 million tons of water across its 95 reservoirs and weirs last September, 26% less than that in September 2014.

This year’s unprecedented drought was due to an eerie absence of typhoons last year, which would usually account for more than half of the island’s annual rainfall, National Central University meteorologist Peng Chi-ming told Apple Daily. Taiwan usually sees at least three typhoons every year.

The La Nina climate phenomenon that took place at the beginning of this year also dampened rainfall in winter and spring, he said.

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