Taiwan: Recycled water bill OK’d by ROC Legislature

kaoshiung fengshan river
The Fengshan River in southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung city. Image: Peellden, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A bill facilitating the recycling and reuse of wastewater was passed by the ROC Legislature Dec. 14 in Taipei City, establishing a legal framework for the sustainable development of water resources in Taiwan.

Under the Reclaimed Water Resources Development Act, local service providers can access water discharged into the sewer systems. This new measure is projected to free up 1.32 million tons of recycled water daily by 2031—roughly 10 percent of Taiwan’s public supply.

Lai Chien-hsin, deputy director-general of the Water Resources Agency, said enactment of the legislation marks a strong step forward in the nation’s industrial and water resources development. “The water will mainly be used by the industrial sector after treatment, and development projects must incorporate a specific proportion of recycled water in areas experiencing supply issues.”

But the new regulations do not allow recycled water to be used for drinking or in the food and pharmaceutical industries. “Violators are subject to prison sentences of up to five years plus a fine between NT$300,000 [US$9,170] and NT$5 million,” he said.

“Those causing death through their actions will face a life sentence or a minimum seven-year jail term, as well as a fine of up to NT$15 million.”

According to Lai, the government plans to spend NT$15 billion from 2016 to 2021 on construction of six water recycling plants in Kaohsiung, Taichung and Tainan Cities.

The Fengshan River pilot facility in southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung is scheduled to be the first of its kind to start operations nationwide in 2018, with a projected maximum daily output of 45,000 tons.

“Quality of the water produced at Fengshan exceeds that currently used for industrial purposes,” Lai said. “This is good news for Kaohsiung’s thriving industrial clusters like seaside Linhai Industrial Park, as the recycled water will make up a considerable portion of its total supply.”

The bill is expected to take effect in early January 2016.

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