Water agency defends Nanshi Creek plan

The Water Resources Agency yesterday championed a proposed tunnel that would connect Nanshi Stream (南勢溪) in New Taipei City’s Wulai District (烏來) to Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫) in Taoyuan in the middle concerns about the potential environmental and social costs of the project.

The project is subject to an environmental impact assessment and construction will not begin without the approval of Wulai residents, the agency said in a statement.

The agency’s comments came after environmental groups and members of the Wulai indigenous community voiced their opposition to the project in a report published by the Chinese-language United Daily News.

Photo: Lee Jung-ping, Taipei Times

The Taiwan Ecological Engineering Development Foundation called on the agency to cancel plans for the 17.3 km tunnel, saying it would have a “devastating” effect on Nanshi Stream and the protected species that inhabit it, the newspaper reported. .

A local resident of Atayal said he fears construction work on the tunnel could force members of the Wulai indigenous community off their land or trigger devastating landslides similar to those that killed at least 471 people in the mountain village of Siaolin (小林) in Kaohsiung during Typhoon Morakot. in 2009.

Construction work on the Wulai Tunnel would have minimal effect on local ecology, as well as water supply in the Greater Taipei area, the agency said.

He said he chose Nanshi Stream for the project because it is likely to have enough rainfall to supply other parts of northern Taiwan, including Taoyuan and Hsinchu, to address potential water shortages there in addition. to supply the Greater Taipei area.

The agency calls the program “interregional distribution of water resources”.

Construction is expected to cost NT$18.6 billion ($615.5 million) and take four and a half years, he said.

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