ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
Semiconductors

Taiwan drought at 'most critical' phase for chip sector

President Tsai calls for conservation in hard-hit semiconductor hub Taichung

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. consumes nearly 200,000 tons of water a day. (Photo courtesy of TSMC)

TAIPEI -- Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday called for more water conservation as the island's chipmaking industry faces the worst drought in nearly 60 years.

"Now is the most critical period for dealing with the drought," Tsai said on a visit to the hard-hit city of Taichung, a production hub for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest contract chipmaker, as well as liquid crystal display manufacturers. The two industries consume large amounts of water.

Taichung has suffered the worst of a dry spell that has emerged as a threat to Taiwan's semiconductor device production. A global chip shortage has already taken hold owing to high demand, which has pitted car companies against makers of consumer electronics for output from TSMC, South Korea's Samsung Electronics and small number of other producers.

Tsai described the situation as "very serious."

The volume of water at two major dams in the Taichung area has fallen to around 5% capacity. The Ministry of Economic Affairs instituted a water ration on April 6, which required companies to reduce water usage by 15%.

As an emergency measure, there are plans to dig 58 wells within Taichung by the end of the month, which are supposed to provide 65,000 tons of water a day. Another 30 wells are forthcoming next month, supplying 50,000 tons of water daily. Some households in the city have had their water supply shut off for two days a week.

TSMC and other companies have taken matters into their own hands by transporting water from reservoirs in other parts of the island using tanker trucks. This is the first time TSMC used water tankers since 2015.

But this approach is not sustainable. Each truck carries 20 tons of water, but TSMC uses nearly 200,000 tons of water every day. As a long-term solution, the company is building a water recycling plant in the city of Tainan.

Some hope the rainy season, which normally arrives in May and June, will bring relief. A repeat of last year's dry conditions would put further strain on the chipmaking industry.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends July 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more