Water, electricity supplies watched closely as mercury rises

2018/05/13 19:00:10 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
CNA file photo

CNA file photo

Taipei, May 13 (CNA) With the weather forecast to be sunny and stable over the next week, the government and state-run power utility are on high alert over possible water and electricity shortages in the scorching summer days ahead.

Temperatures in densely populated western Taiwan were recorded at over 30 degrees Celsius Sunday noon, and the Central Weather Bureau was predicting sunny and stable weather all over Taiwan in the coming week.

The mercury will rise to as high as 35 degrees or higher on Thursday and Friday, the bureau forecast.

The increasingly warm weather is expected to put pressure on water and electricity supplies, prompting the Water Resources Agency (WRA) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) to go on alert to the possibility of shortages.

According to the WRA-devised drought early warning system, a green light, which indicates a tight water supply, flashed in Miaoli County in northern Taiwan, as well as Tainan and Kaohsiung in the south, on May 1, and has not been changed since then.

Meanwhile, water supplies in the rest of the country continued to stay in the normal blue light in the five-color warning system, in which yellow, orange and red lights signal water rationing to varying degrees.

However, Zengwen Reservoir in Chiayi County -- the largest reservoir in Taiwan -- that irrigates farmland in southern Taiwan, had only 28.97 million cubic meters of water as of 4 p.m. Sunday.

The volume was a mere 6.38 percent of the reservoir's effective capacity, according to data on the WRA's official website.

WRA Deputy Director-General Wang I-feng (王藝峰) said Sunday that the agency has taken measures to control water discharge from Zengwen Reservoir, while closely monitoring the situations at other reservoirs around the country.

In terms of electricity supply, Taipower has forecast that next week, the operating reserve margin -- the percentage of total generating capacity available above peak demand conditions -- will stand at between 6 percent and 10 percent, a relatively low level that will trigger a yellow alert.

Under Taipower's electricity warning system, when an operating reserve margin stays above 10 percent, the power supply flashes a healthy green light.

But an orange alert flashes when the power reserve falls below 6 percent, while a red alert signals that it has dropped to less than 900,000 kilowatts, and a black alert means it has fallen to less than 500,000 kW, necessitating power rationing.

Facing the upcoming summer peak demand, the company has reinforced measures to watch over possible changes in power consumption and keep all operating generators in good condition to maintain supply, said Taipower spokesman Hsu Tsao-hua (徐造華).

(By Liao Yu-yang and Elizabeth Hsu)
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