A lack of rain over the past year has sent the island of Taiwan into its worst drought in more than half a century, the BBC reports, with many of its reservoirs at less than 20 percent capacity, with water levels at some falling below 10 percent.
The lack of water is hurting a key industry – semiconductors, computer chips – made by Taiwanese companies. Around 90% of the most advanced microchips are manufactured in Taiwan, key to objects ranging from ventilators to smartphones and valued at US$100 billion.
Taiwan’s outlying Kinmen County celebrated on Monday the completion of an expansion of a local desalination plant that should help increase freshwater supplies and ease the threat of water shortages in the island county.
Taiwan Water Corp. confirmed Tuesday that it expects the fifth desalination plant in Penghu County to be completed by the end of the year, though a government official suggested there was still a hurdle to overcome.
The construction of the desalination plant, initially planned to be completed in May 2018, was later scheduled to be finished by the end of 2018, and that target remains in place, the company said in a statement.
But Public Construction Commission chief Wu Tse-cheng (吳澤成), who was in Penghu on Tuesday to check on the project’s progress, urged Taiwan Water to overcome horizontal directional drilling challenges to complete the plant on time.