Taiwan Lifts Toughest Water Curbs as Rain Eases Drought

By Reuters
June 6, 2021 Updated: June 6, 2021

TAIPEI—Taiwan on Sunday lifted its toughest water restrictions for three parts of the island that had seen supplies cut for two days a week after heavy rain helped ease a biting drought.

Sub-tropical Taiwan is dealing with its worst drought in history after no typhoons directly hit the island last year, meaning much less rain.

In April, water supplies in parts of Taichung, Changhua, and Miaoli began being limited, with no water for two days every week and tankers sent to supply residents.

But Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua said those controls would now end after more than a week of heavy rain, helped by a tropical storm brushing Taiwan over the weekend.

However, she said the drought was not over and the government would be considering how further to address the island’s water shortages.

The drought had threatened to affect Hsinchu, home of the world’s largest contract chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.

The company has said, though, that it has seen no impact on production from the drought and would continue to trim its water use and buy supplies from tanker trucks for some foundries.

Technology companies have long complained about tight water supplies, which became more acute after factories expanded production following a Sino–U.S. trade war.

The drought has also exacerbated problems with electricity management, leading to two major island-wide blackouts in less than a week.

By Ben Blanchard