Nanhua Reservoir is pictured in Tainan yesterday.
Photo: Wu Chun-feng, Taipei Times
‘SPECIFIC PHENOMENON’: The Water Resources Agency said that rain forecast for this weekend might arrive in time to avoid additional restrictions in Hsinchu County
By Angelica Oung / Staff reporter
A “true monsoon” is on its way this weekend, Water Resources Agency Deputy Director-General Wang Yi-feng （王藝峰） said yesterday, citing Central Weather Bureau predictions.
There has been some precipitation in Taiwan over the past week, adding about 19 million tonnes of water combined to reservoirs across the nation.
However the rain so far has been from “summer storms” that do not compare in magnitude to a true monsoon, Wang said.
“The rains that fell in the past week account for about two days’ use on average,” he said.
“As the plum rain season lasts from May to June, we have gotten into the habit of calling all rainfall in that period ‘monsoon rain,’ but a true monsoon is a specific meteorological phenomenon that is far more powerful and sustained than summer storms,” he said.
If this weekend’s plum rain sweeps over Taiwan at the right angle, it is capable of filling all of Taiwan’s reservoirs in just one weekend, he said.
“This is what is unique about Taiwan’s water supply, and we are reliant on monsoons and typhoons, but one good rain event can make a huge difference,” he said.
The weekend’s weather might even be in time to rescue parched Hsinchu County from going into additional water restrictions, Wang said.
“The county needs 100mm of rain before the end of the month, or it will shift from an ‘orange’ to a ‘red’ alert on Tuesday next week,” he said.
“So far this month, only 9mm of rain has fallen in the county,” he added.
It would be “no problem” for the monsoon to boost that to 100mm, Wang said.
Like many island nations, Taiwan’s water shortages have more to do with preserving rainfall than not enough falling, he said, adding that more reservoirs would help.
However, high-intensity rainfall causes rapid river currents that rush water into the ocean, so better soil conservation would also help retain more water, he said.
After no typhoons made landfall in Taiwan last year and a “dry monsoon” so far this year, all of western Taiwan is under some form of water restriction.
Taichung, Miaoli County and northern Changhua County are under a “red” alert, meaning that the agency provides households and businesses with water for five days per week.
Hsinchu is under an “orange” alert, with round-the-clock water pressure reductions and 15 percent mandatory water usage reduction for industrial users.
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