20 September 2015 - 7 Tishri 5776 - ז' תשרי ה' אלפים תשע"ו
Taiwan envoy shares experience amid water shortages E-mail

Rationalising water prices and promoting education on water conservation may be effective ways to address water shortages in Taiwan, cautioned Israel’s representative to Taiwan, amid the worst drought to hit Taiwan in over a decade.

Since April, strict waterrationing measures have been implemented in parts of New Taipei, in Taoyuan and in southern Taiwan. In Kaohsiung, the most populous municipality in the south, the water supply to commercial consumers such as car-washes and spa operators has been cut by 20%.

“[The] first lesson to learn from Israel might not be so popular rationalise water prices,” said Simona Halperin, head of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, speaking to local media. “As long as water cost is low, people will not change their attitude to water,” she added.

At about NT$11 (US$0.35) per cubic metre, the price of water in Taiwan is only one-fifth the world average and has not been raised for 21 years. The low price has been widely cited for the lack of public awareness of and interest in water conservation in Taiwan. Beyond the water price, Halperin noted the importance of education in promoting water conservation. “The slogan ‘Save every drop’ is well known to Israelis and huge campaigns took place in the past urging the public to conserve water,” she said. “Without the public’s engagement, water scarcity in Israel could have been a severe problem.”

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