|Taiwan Eyes Water From China for
TAIPEI, Taiwan (OOSKAnews)
aiwan has developed a plan to import water from China for
residents of its heavily defended Kinmen island group off
the mainland, as growing water demand is fast outpacing the
Taiwan’s Water Resources Agency proposes to set up pipes linking
China’s southeast Fujian province to the Taiwan-controlled Kin-
men group. The water diplomacy also marks an improvement of
relations between China and Taiwan following peace overtures by
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou recently.
The island group has been a constant reminder of lingering hostili-
ties between the two sides since they split in 1949.
Construction of the pipeline, which would carry water from Fujian,
would begin once the agency gets final approval from the country’s
cabinet owing to the sensitive nature of the project. Once started,
the project is expected to take about two years to complete.
Water Resources Agency deputy director Wu Yue-hsi was quoted
as saying in news reports that said the import plan aimed to lower
the cost of supplies to Kinmen.
Currently, the island group is dependent on water pumped under-
ground and received from rainfall. But, water at several tiny reser-
voirs is turning out to be insufficient to meet the demands of about
60,000 civilians and 5,000 servicemen on the island group.
So far, whenever the island group has been hit by droughts, local
authorities had to use a desalination plant on the island and ship
water over from Taiwan.
Shipping water from mainland Taiwan involves heavy costs,
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whereas now, if the import proposal goes through, water can be re-
ceived from the Chinese mainland’s southeastern port of Xiamen,
which is situated just kilometers away.
Kinmen is separated from Taiwan by about 280 kilometers of the
News reports indicate that the island group receives annual precipi-
tation of a little over 1,000 mm and rainfall remains concentrated
in a five-month period, from mid-April to mid-September. East-
ern Kinmen utilizes surface water, whereas western Kinmen uses
Taiwan’s government began constructing seawater desalination
plants in the outlying islands, including Penghu and Kinmen, in
President Ma had promoted the idea of building a bridge between
Kinmen and Xiamen in Fujian, saying his administration is study-
ing the bridge project and water supplies from Fujian, pending a
new round of talks with Chinese authorities to be held before the
end of the year