Taiwan is currently having it’s worst drought in 56 years. Season typhoons provide Taiwan with most of the island’s fresh water. In 2020 there was not a single storm during the winter monsoon season and a very short Plum Rain season. The Plum Rains start in May and usually last through June and are created through a stationary front that hangs over Taiwan. However, since last summer, all typhoons passed over Taiwan without bringing enough rain. Last month, the water level of Sun Moon Lake reached such low levels that it enabled people to find their phones lost in the lake from years gone by.
The drought had made global news for its impact on the semiconductor chip production but tea production and other agriculture account for 70% of Taiwan’s annual fresh water usage. The majority of reservoirs in southern Taiwan in order to last 60 days of usage, the government has limited the household water usage . This serious drought is not just affecting agriculture and industry but also daily life. Tea leaf yields are down 30-50% from average at lower elevations, and higher elevations are not much better and the government has started a subsidization program that will help farmers replace lost crops and fortify farms with irrigation where possible. As tea fields are being left to fallow this year, many tea farmers are enjoying drinking tea and enjoying long bike rides through the vast fields. There is still hope the tea 2021 season will be a good year.
The photo shows the lotus pond without water of Taipei Botanical Garden. Photo credit: Sung-Lin Li
The photos of dry Sun Moon Lake
The video of several dry reservoirs in Taiwan
The video of Sun Moon Lake before drought