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Semiconductors

Taiwan government reassures over water for chip sector

Ministry says operations at key science parks will not be affected

Taiwan's vital chip industry uses vast amounts of water every day despite strenuous efforts by companies to reduce their usage. (File photo by AFP/Jiji) 

TAIPEI -- Taiwan's government has assured the public and tech industry that the island's water shortage issue is under control and will not affect the operation of key science parks -- the heart of Taiwan's chip manufacturing sector.

The government's reassurance came after Nikkei Asia on Thursday published a story describing the water shortage on the island amid the global semiconductor chip supply crunch. Taiwan's government on the same day further tightened water use in several cities that are home to a cluster of important manufacturers. Plants in Taoyuan, Taichung, Hsinchu and Miaoli will have to cut consumption by up to 11%, on top of a 7% cut requested last month.

In the article Nikkei Asia interviewed several tech companies and government authorities and cited real-time open data, sourced from Taiwan's water resources agency, on the state of water storage in reservoirs across the island.

Nikkei Asia's story was widely picked up by Taiwanese media, some of which claimed in headlines that Nikkei had said water supplies to the Science Parks would be cut off in 60 days -- claims not made in the original story.

Responding to the media coverage, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a press statement that it has activated a new water pipeline to draw 200,000 tons of water daily from Taoyuan to support Hsinchu. It has also built a new desalination plant to supply 13,000 tons more water to Hsinchu, the ministry said.

The ministry said it had already started a drought emergency response center last October.

However, if the drought continues to worsen, the ministry will further expand the scope for water conservation measures and take action to lower the impact on residential and industrial water use.

The Hsinchu Science Park, where Taiwan's top chipmakers including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and United Microelectronics Corp. are based, also said in a statement that while the water supply is constrained, the situation is under control. It will roll out multiple measures for dynamic allocation of water resources for the park.

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