Friday, May 05, 2017

Water and Yunlin

An expat band rocks a local charity gig.

Underneath its placid agricultural surface Yunlin County is heavily stressed, says Personal Water Footprint in Taiwan: A Case Study of Yunlin County by Yung-Jaan Lee, Chuan-Ming Tung, Piin-Rong Lee, and Shih-Chien Lin (Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1112;).
In relation to Taiwan’s water resources and related issues, Yunlin County faces more water resource-related difficulties than any other county in Taiwan. Yunlin County is a very important county for agriculture. However, 13 out of 20 townships in this county are located on areas of land subsidence. Coastal townships cover an area of severe land subsidence that floods during every typhoon. Kouhu Township’s Cheng Long Wetland is naturally low-lying. Additionally, years of the over-pumping of underground water, and salt water intrusion caused by Typhoon Wayne and Typhoon Abby in 1986 and Typhoon Herb in 1996, led to the formation of an abandoned wetland. The impact of this wetland on the region’s industry has been substantial, because Yunlin County’s extraction of underground water—which has led to the improper use of water resources—is inseparable from the water usage habits of the residents.
This led the team to calculate the personal water footprint of individuals in Yunlin and compare them on a township by township basis....
After questionnaires were collected and the answered encoded, the answers were input into the water footprint calculator, and the mean (direct) everyday water use per capita, virtual (indirect) water use, and water footprint results were obtained (Table 1). The calculation of everyday water use (direct) was based mainly on answers from interviewees to questions about the amount of water they used in doing laundry, bathing, flushing the toilet, washing the car, and taking care of fish and plants. Virtual (indirect) water use is obtained from information about an individual’s type of diet and amount of food eaten, pets, and the “hidden” water used in other consumption. The water consumed by omnivorous people greatly exceeds that used by vegetarians, because the production of livestock and meat consumes more water.
On a township basis, they found...
The five townships with the highest daily mean water footprints per capita are Gukeng Township (5506.26 L/person), Linnei Township (5247.27 L/person), Taixi Township (5137.86 L/person), Dongshi Township (4967.56 L/person), and Kouhu Township (4759.00 L/person), most of which are located in mountainous and coastal areas. The daily water footprint per capita in Yunlin County is 4287.88 L.
It's not difficult to see why Douliu has a huge footprint -- it's an administrative center with high incomes rich in tertiary industries. Gukeng, though, shows why tourism is ecologically stressful -- the article specifically points out that its high water use is driven by tourism. This hidden cost of water use is one of the reasons Taiwan was losing money on group tourism from China. They note:
Gukeng Township is the township with the most tourism in Yunlin County. It is also the source of the county’s water. Therefore, its industries are mostly agriculture (primary industry) and arts, entertainment, and recreation services, accommodation, food and beverage industries, and support services (tertiary industry).
Surprisingly, individual water use in Mailiao, where the big naptha cracker is, was low. This was because most water in Mailiao goes for industry, not individual use, and the industrial complex has its own dedicated water supply. On the coast the problem is overpumping of groundwater, which has led to massive subsidence and other problems....
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1 comment:

Mike Fagan said...

Yunlin's new reservoir will probably come online early next year. Right now they are stress testing the dam and building a water treatment plant and ancillary infrastructure.