Weekend rainfall helps farmers, but reservoirs still dry: officials

Taipei- The rainy weather over the weekend helped some of Taiwan's farmers after a months-long drought, but the 1.2 million cubic meters it is expected to deliver to reservoirs will not do much to boost the overall water supply, officials said Monday.

Tsai Sheng-fu (???), chief of the Agency of Irrigation under the Council of Agriculture (COA), told CNA that the wet weather system brought rainfall to some drought-stricken agricultural hubs, especially in Kaohsiung and Pingtung, where mango and rice farmers have suffered major losses.

Chen Junne-jih (???), deputy chief of the COA, said the rain came at a good time because many crops are starting to bear fruit or grains -- during which they particularly need moisture.

The drought has already caused agricultural losses of nearly NT$430 million (US$15.2 million) over the past one and a half months since March, and so the recent rainfall was good news for farmers, according to Tsai.

Another round of rainfall is forecast to begin Thursday, and Tsai hoped it will provide further relief.

For Taiwan's main reservoirs, however, the wet weather system that arrived Saturday afternoon was disappointing, even if 45 rounds of cloud seeding were conducted with the expectation of increasing the amount of rainfall by 7-10 percent, according to Water Resources Agency (WRA) Deputy Director-General Wang Yi-feng (???)

As of Monday afternoon, Nanhua Reservoir in Tainan was expected to receive the most water from the weekend rainfall at 670,000 cubic meters, followed by Liyutan Reservoir in Miaoli at 259,000 cubic meters and Yongheshan Reservoir in Miaoli County at 99,000 cubic meters, Wang said.

Still, most reservoirs that supply the Hsinchu area and central and southern Taiwan had water reserves of less than 10 percent of their capacities as of Monday evening.

Water levels were 4.88 percent of capacity at the Second Baoshan Reservoir in Hsinchu, 4.73 percent of capacity at Yongheshan Reservoir, 3.39 percent of capacity at Techi Reservoir in Taichung, and 5.18 percent of capacity at Liyutan Reservoir.

Tsengwen Reservoir in Tainan, Taiwan's largest reservoir, was at 8.85 percent of capacity as of Monday evening, according to WRA data.

If there was any good news for the overall water supply, it was that the flow rate of the Gaoping River -- a major source of water for Kaohsiung residents -- had risen to 4.2 cubic meters per second Monday from 3.8 cubic meters per second before the rainfall arrived, Wang said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel