08 April 1996 00:00 [Source: ACN]
SOUTHERN Taiwan petrochemical manufacturers are preparing to reduce operating rates because of a water shortage. A period of drought has exacerbated an already tight water supply problem in the area.
To conserve dwindling supplies, water authorities cut industrial water allotments at the end of January. The government usually supplies 1.45m m3/day to industrial consumers in Kaohsiung. That amount has now been reduced to 1.36m m3/day.
At present, there are no plans to reduce water use further, but if the drought continues another cut could be made in two months, said CM Wu, chairman of the Water Resource Planning Department.
Sources at Chi Mei, Grand Pacific Petrochemical Corp and China Petroleum Corp (CPC) all said their companies would reduce operating rates if rationing is increased. Producers are hopeful that the coming monsoon season will help to replenish water supplies.
A number of plants in the area were believed to be affected by the water shortage, but no shutdowns related to water rationing could be confirmed.
In Kaohsiung, five petrochemical plants were shut down for three days as water authorities replaced a section of pipe supplying water to the facilities. The shutdowns took longer than expected because of a power outage during the work on the water pipe. Among those affected were CPC's acrylonitrile and caprolactam plants.
Reports that Taiwan Styrene Monomer's styrene plant in Kaohsiung was forced to shut down because of the water shortage proved to be unfounded. The plant shut down last month for a scheduled maintenance turnaround.
Water supplies for southern Taiwan have been getting tighter for the last five years as industrial consumers in the area draw more and more water from the area's shallow water table. 'With more industrial development and population growth, the problem will get worse in the future,' Wu said.
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