Taiwan is facing the most severe water shortage in 56 years and the self-ruled democratic island has set up an emergency response to combat the drought including setting up multiple wells, turning to Matsu, the Chinese goddess of the sea and Taiwan's air force using C-130 transport aircraft to seed the clouds. Earlier this month, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen called on the residents to conserve water and gear up for shortages following several months of scant rainfall and lack of typhoons making landfall on the island last year.
The most severe drought in at least half a century in Taiwan is witnessed across the band of the western part of the island including significant cities such as Hsinchu, Taichung in the central region Tainan and Kaohsiung to the south. Hsinchu is reportedly home to several of Taiwan’s famous tech firms. In the wake of water scarcity, Taiwan News reported that the irrigation authorities in the Republic of China (island’s official name) turned to the goddess of sea to resolve the situation and even teamed up with Dajia Jenn Lann Temple in Taichung City, to pray to the deity for rain.
As drought continues to ravage Taiwan, major reservoirs in the central and the southern regions have nearly dried out completely. This week. Taiwanese Economic Minister Wang Mei-hua, as per the CNA report, said that the ministry will hunt for new sources of water and make changes in its distribution on the island. Local media reports on March 15 had said that the Zengwen Reservoir in Chiayi County is down to just 15.3 per cent of its capacity, Liyutan Reservoir in Miaoli has plummeted to 13.7 per cent, and Techi Reservoir in Deji Reservoir in Taichung is down to just 8.2 per cent.
As per local media reports, the officials are hoping for ‘plum rains’. The East Asian rainy season is commonly known as ‘plum rain’ and is normally caused by the precipitation along a persistent stationary front known as Meiju front, for at least two months during late spring and the early summer in the region.
However, reportedly if plum rains fail to replenish the reservoirs especially in central Taiwan, authorities will be sending out a red alert in May in which, water would only be made available to certain districts at certain times. As of March 18, Taiwan News reported quoting the government that a total of 1,817 companies in the island have identified that Taiwan’s biggest water users should be charged extra.