Saturday, June 2, 2007

A Response from the Water Resources Agency

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your letter to Premier Chang Chun-Hsiung, regarding your concerns about the Hushan Dam Project at Hushan village. Premier Chang has paid his attention to this subject and requested the Water Resources Agency (WRA) for investigation and response. For your long-term commitment and devotion to issues of environment and conservation for the globe really impressed me and I would also like to express my utmost respect.

Hushan Reservoir project is within the scope of our key development plan at current stage. This project aims to provide adequate water resource for residents in Yunlin County, where the people has sufferred a long term water shortage since the 1970's and land-subsidence due to over-pumping ground water. These disadvantages have not only impacted environment but also affected quality of people's life. Over more than twenty years studies, investigation and planning, which is in accordance with the law and related environmental assessment, the government has reached the agreement of Hushan Reservoir project, hoping to solve water shortage and land-subsidence problems in Yunlin County.

As we known, Taiwan is situated on Circum Pacific Seismic Zone, hence there are numerous earthquakes recorded annually. Although, Chichi earthquake, which took place on September 21st in 1999, caused a huge disasters in Taiwan. We are assured, the site of Hushan Reservoir is situated off the fault area. On the other hand, as a post-disaster response, our government has stepped out its effort for reexamination and tightened construction safety after the 921 earthquake. Hushan Reservoir project has gone through a detailed and rigorous review before its approval, therefore, safety and earthquake proof level have been ensured.

Hushan Reservoir sits on the hill of Touliu City, with its site and vicinity covering a span across forestry zone numbered 61~73 of Mt. Ali, and the reservoir itself stretching among forest compartment numbered 71~73. It has been found that Taiwan receives about 2,000~3,000 Fairy Pitta (Pitta nympha) per year after a thorough study. This specie has been visible around the island, and could be found in the submerged area and watershed of Hushan Reservoir about 30~40 of them. The area of Hushan Reservoir submerged would cover 202 hectares instead of 422 hectares mentioned by you. Meantimes, our data displays that the Fairy Pitta has also been conserved in the surrounding areas of other reservoirs, which provides evidence that the ecology of reservoir areas can definitely be restored under careful management.

We all know construction inevitably would have more or less impacts on the environments. However, the impacts could be reduced to the least if the monitoring measures and necessary recovery or restoration are well done. WRA prepares well ecological conservation measures, including ecological corridors erection and habitat improvement and rehabilitation. All the measures are taken into account in the draft of "Ecological Conservation Measures Execution Plan", which had been approved by Environmental Protection Administration (EPA). WRA has full confidence to reduce the impacts to the lowland evergreen forest ecosystem around this project area.

Serving the high quality, reliable water to improve people's living is our responsibility, while maintaining the sustainable environment for human and animal habitat is also our major goal. We noticed that the impacts of the Fair Pitta population and the lowland evergreen forest ecosystem. We have organized the Ecological Conservation Execution Committee, included the government agencies, local environmental protection organizations and other scholars and experts. With a budget of US$ 6 million, the Committee is responsible to carry out the related environmental protection and ecological restoration works in the Hushan Reservoir area. The Government has shown its greatest efforts and the Hushan Reservoir Project will become an inspirational example toward this regard for future reservoir projects in Taiwan.

Sincerely Yours,

Shen-Hsien Chen
Water Resources Agency
Ministry of Economics Affairs
Taiwan, ROC

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