© Reuters. Individuals holding joss sticks pray to the ocean goddess Mazu to want for rain amid an island-wide drought, throughout a non secular ceremony at Jenn Lann Temple in Taichung


By Ann Wang

HSINCHU, Taiwan (Reuters) – Taiwan is drilling wells, seeding clouds and beseeching a gold-faced sea goddess to assist the sub-tropical island experience out its most critical drought in about half a century, after rain-soaking typhoons didn’t make landfall final yr.

The drought is worst throughout a band of western Taiwan, together with the key metropolises of Hsinchu, residence to lots of Taiwan’s famend tech companies, Taichung within the centre of the island, and Tainan and Kaohsiung to the south.

Water ranges in 4 main reservoirs have fallen to round or under one-tenth of capability. Some chipmakers are shopping for water by the truckload for his or her foundries, although provides up to now are usually persevering with uninterrupted for households.

Chiang Ming-lang, director of the Water Sources Company’s northern area, advised Reuters they’ve been piping in water from different reservoirs to the primary one for Hsinchu, however it was nonetheless not sufficient and so they have been now drilling wells.

“No person needs to lack water. But when the heavens do not open then that is not one thing you or I can management,” he mentioned. “Although some individuals say this can be a short-term phenomenon, it is onerous to disclaim this has turn into a long-term one.”

Officers hope the ‘plum rain’ season that begins round late spring will assist, however within the meantime are taking extra drastic steps.

In Taichung earlier this month the Water Sources Company took the weird step of sending its high official for central Taiwan to a three-hour non secular ceremony to wish for rain, the primary time the occasion has been held in 58 years.

Some 3,000 individuals, largely farmers in addition to Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen, prayed to the ocean goddess Mazu, her gold face signifying her divinity and a well-liked deity believed to carry success and finish drought.

Yen Ching-piao, chairman of the Jenn Lann Temple the place the prayers have been provided, advised media it did not matter who got here, solely that they have been honest of their request for rain.

“Prayers give hope, and prayers carry blessings,” he mentioned.

Taiwan’s air pressure has additionally used C-130 transport plane to seed the clouds, whereas water sources officers again up the trouble from the bottom by firing chemical compounds into the air.

Agriculture accounts for greater than 70% of water consumption in Taiwan, to develop rice and fruit like mango and pineapple.

Hsinchu rice farmer Tian Shou-hsi, 63, mentioned his crops have been “struggling terribly”.

“The spring has begun however I have not seen any rain. I am unable to plant the three hectares of land I’ve,” he mentioned. “There is not any water, so we have now nothing to do. Other than tilling the soil and planting mulch for the bottom, I do not know what to do.”

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