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Mayor Attends Groundbreaking Ceremony of Feitsui Raw Water Transmission Mains Project

Groundbreaking Ceremony In the morning of July 24, Mayor Ko Wen-je traveled to Feitsui Reservoir to attend the Feitsui Raw Water Transmission Mains Project groundbreaking ceremony with Executive Yuan Secretary-General Li Meng-yen, Ministry of Economic Affairs Vice Minister Lin Chuan-neng, and the Deputy Director-General of Water Resources Agency, MOEA Chung Chao-kung. Mayor Ko hoped that the project would be completed as early as possible so that the 6 million people living in Greater Taipei will be able to enjoy clean water.

During his speech, Ko said that 97.5% of Taipei City's water – as well water for a number of communities in New Taipei City – is supplied by Feitsui Reservoir; therefore the ultimate objective is to let Feitsui Reservoir supply all of the water consumed by 6 million citizens in the capital living circle. In his first year as mayor, Typhoon Soudelor wreaked havoc in Taiwan, and the water turbidity exceeded the processing capability of the purification plant. The water supply was interrupted, and Taipei City Government conducted a comprehensive review of the incident.

According to the mayor, Feitsui Reservoir is constructed on Beishi River, and there is also a river called Nanshi River that merges with Beishi River to form Xindian River. Since the water quality and quantity protection areas upstream of the Beishi River are well protected, it is relatively problem-free. However, Nanshi River is not as protected as rigorously, therefore after Typhoon Soudelor in 2015, Nanshi River's turbidity spikes during heavy rainfalls or typhoons. He has inspected the upstream of Nanshi River to determine the cause of the reported water turbidity.

Mayor Ko stated that the final verdict was that, even with soil and water conservation measures implemented, recovery of Nanshi River will not take place in the next 2 decades. In other words, for the next 20 years, the turbidity of Nanshi River will surge during heavy rainfall or typhoons, affecting the water supply quality at purification plants. According to the mayor, the only solution to this problem is to construct dedicated water transmission mains directly from Feitsui Reservoir to the purification plants to supply them with clean water regardless of Nanshi River's rising turbidity.

Mayor Ko also commented that Taipei City Government redesigned its SOP after Typhoon Soudelor to make sure that citizens will not be supplied dirty water. Water intake will be suspended when turbidity exceeds 12,000NTU, and water supply will be reduced if turbidity is higher than 6,000NTU. Nonetheless, in order to prevent water stoppage, decreasing water supply comes at a hefty cost; the city government therefore decided to develop dedicated water transmission mains directly from Feitsui Reservoir to the purification plants to resolve this problem once and for all.

Mayor Ko suggested that city government has been trying to resolve the challenges associated with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and budget over the past 3 years, and he is grateful for New Taipei City Government's assistance to facilitate the passing of the EIA. He also thanked the central government for subsidizing NT$800 million, culminating in the successful groundbreaking of the NT$2 billion water transmission mains project.

According to Ko, he has high hopes that the project will finish ahead of schedule after groundbreaking. Compared to the construction speed he had witnessed while visiting China, he is still unsatisfied about the construction speed in Taipei City, therefore he has requested that all most economically advantageous tenders must include project time limit as an assessment criterion. After the groundbreaking, the construction firm should do its best to complete the project as soon as possible to mitigate the pressure of purification plants in combating turbidity, in turn providing Taipei citizens with clean water.

Lastly, the mayor stressed that the presentation mentioned 2 important items yet to be completed; the first is the lowering of water pipeline leakage to conserve water resources and reduce waste; the second is that the second phase of Banxin Project must be completed as early as possible. Originally slated for completion in 2016, it is still not finished as of 2019; therefore speed is of the essence. After the second phase of Banxin Project is completed, the water supply ratio of Feitsui Reservoir to New Taipei City can be increased from 47% to 57%, allowing more New Taipei City citizens to enjoy water from Feitsui Reservoir.