News Taiwan Diverts Water From Farmers to Chip Makers Amid Historic Drought

hotaru.hino

Respectable
My first thought is "doesn't Taiwan have a desalinasation system?" and apparently, as far as I was willing to look for it, the answer is "no" or at least something not significant enough.
 

thisisaname

Distinguished
Feb 6, 2009
140
37
18,610
0
Food can be imported from other countries, but it'll still suck for the farmers.
If everyone put manufacturing over food production there would be no place to import it from.

Chip Makers need to get better at managing their water usage as this historic drought is could be the the new normal rather than being a one off.
 
Reactions: gargoylenest

hotaru.hino

Respectable
If everyone put manufacturing over food production there would be no place to import it from.
But everyone doesn't do that now do they? A vast majority of Taiwan's economy comes from semiconductor manufacturing. If they put the kebash on that, it could make things worse for them than reducing agricultural output that they can make up by importing food.

It would be a different situation if there was no food to import.
 

purple_dragon

Distinguished
Sep 26, 2012
55
8
18,535
0
TSMC has enough money to build their own desalination plant and then the water could go to the farmers rather than manufacturing plants. It's a bad choice to have to send water either direction but TSMC can survive easier than a poor farmer can. In the end money usually speaks louder, hopefully TSMC will start a program to help the local farmers.
 

jelyon

Distinguished
Dec 31, 2007
7
4
18,515
0
The answer is simple but getting governments and businesses to implement the solution is the hard part. Taiwan need only switch to hydrogen fuel cells to increase its water supply and increase its electrical generation. The real question is why is a technically advanced company, like TSMC, so dim when it comes to embracing technology.

If TSMC's shareholders cared about future profits or just simply care about humanity, then they will force TSMC's hand in this matter.

Until then, TSMC should be labeled a merchant of death for its willful choice to let others suffer just so it can make short term profit.
 

OriginFree

Honorable
May 23, 2015
39
13
10,545
1
If everyone put manufacturing over food production there would be no place to import it from.

Chip Makers need to get better at managing their water usage as this historic drought is could be the the new normal rather than being a one off.
Well farmers need to as well. I've lived in north american farm country and they just suck every drop they can. Then you look at the new vertical farms in Denmark and other places and realize that while we have boosted production in farms over the last 8,000 years the basics are still old school.

If you can build a chip with 1+ billion transistors then you can build a modern vertical low water farm.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
TSMC has enough money to build their own desalination plant and then the water could go to the farmers rather than manufacturing plants.
The reason Taiwan decided to prioritize TSMC over rice farmers is because even if Taiwan decided to cut off TSMC, the amount of water probably still wouldn't have saved the rice fields and the water would then have been completely wasted. TSMC was the logical safe bet.

Taiwan and TSMC may have the money to invest in extra water processing plants but building them and the pipes needed to carry water would take a year if not longer, far too late to help anybody this time around.
 

AlistairAB

Honorable
May 21, 2014
227
59
10,760
0
My first thought is "doesn't Taiwan have a desalinasation system?" and apparently, as far as I was willing to look for it, the answer is "no" or at least something not significant enough.
Why would you make a desalination plant in a country with heavy rainfall? Of course you wouldn't. They just need to improve infrastructure and store more rain for later. Source: Lived in Taiwan for years. No lack of rain.

 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
Why would you make a desalination plant in a country with heavy rainfall? Of course you wouldn't.
You may want to as a backup.

At a glance, Taiwan's urban areas are nestled between mountains with no obvious nearby locations for reservoir or hydro dam that haven't already been made into such, so increasing rain water capture capacity may be more easily said than done. There is no point in capturing rain in the middle of nowhere if it takes more power and maintenance to get it where it is needed than running a desalination plant.
 

AlistairAB

Honorable
May 21, 2014
227
59
10,760
0
You may want to as a backup.

At a glance, Taiwan's urban areas are nestled between mountains with no obvious nearby locations for reservoir or hydro dam that haven't already been made into such, so increasing rain water capture capacity may be more easily said than done. There is no point in capturing rain in the middle of nowhere if it takes more power and maintenance to get it where it is needed than running a desalination plant.
That's why I actually showed the rainfall in Taipei in my photo, which is the same as Hsinchu (they are right next to each other). The rainfall on the east coast is much higher than that. Trust me, I live in Taiwan. Drought can happen, but desalination doesn't make sense for a country with very heavy rainfall, that's all I'm saying. Common sense really. People plan based on what usually happens, so when you have unusual drought for a year, contingency plans need to be made and there shouldn't be a problem again in the future. (also electricity is very expensive in Taiwan, desalination would be VERY expensive also).
 
Reactions: bernieo

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
Drought can happen, but desalination doesn't make sense for a country with very heavy rainfall, that's all I'm saying.
Rainfall is only counts when it happens somewhere where you can cost-effectively catch, store and pump it from.

(also electricity is very expensive in Taiwan, desalination would be VERY expensive also).
Building dams in remote mountain areas to catch and store rain then pump it through 10+km of pipes back to Taipei to expand total stored rainwater capacity would require tons of power too on top of much higher up-front construction costs.
 

AlistairAB

Honorable
May 21, 2014
227
59
10,760
0
Rainfall is only counts when it happens somewhere where you can cost-effectively catch, store and pump it from.


Building dams in remote mountain areas to catch and store rain then pump it through 10+km of pipes back to Taipei to expand total stored rainwater capacity would require tons of power too on top of much higher up-front construction costs.
It does happen in easy places to catch, just didn't happen last year. In the same way, they can store the water near Hsinchu. Taiwan has tons of water, but it also has tons of people, like the population of Canada all moved to just Vancouver Island. So they have to be careful with planning. It's raining a bunch today in Taipei.

Taiwan doesn't have large bodies of fresh water like Canada, doesn't have snow run off. Winter is the dry season. I'm quite certain lots of water will be here by May. Things have to be carefully planned out here. If they built a desalination plant, it would never be used in the future. Sitting idle for a decade isn't a good use of resources.
 

watzupken

Notable
Mar 16, 2020
382
149
870
1
"It might seem odd to prioritize chip production over farming, but Water Resources Agency deputy director Wang Yi-Feng told the NYT that the inverse would be a "lose-lose" because the farmers would suffer from low yields even with irrigated water."

In my opinion, this is utter BS. Its utter crazed for people to prioritise non-essentials over essentials like food. Even if yield is low, its still food. Can they eat silicon or chips if they have no food?
Instead, I feel they made this decision because farmers can't pay for the water, while the big companies can and are already doing so. It's also shown in the fact that "commoners" are subjected to water rationing, while big companies like TSMC is getting all the water they need to run at 100% capacity. If its a fair system, I would expect water rationing to apply to TSMC or any big companies as well.
 
Last edited:

watzupken

Notable
Mar 16, 2020
382
149
870
1
If everyone put manufacturing over food production there would be no place to import it from.

Chip Makers need to get better at managing their water usage as this historic drought is could be the the new normal rather than being a one off.
This is exactly right. Every nation have their own problems. So if everyone assumes someone will export essentials like food all the time, then it's a fatal assumption.
 
Reactions: thisisaname

watzupken

Notable
Mar 16, 2020
382
149
870
1
The reason Taiwan decided to prioritize TSMC over rice farmers is because even if Taiwan decided to cut off TSMC, the amount of water probably still wouldn't have saved the rice fields and the water would then have been completely wasted. TSMC was the logical safe bet.

Taiwan and TSMC may have the money to invest in extra water processing plants but building them and the pipes needed to carry water would take a year if not longer, far too late to help anybody this time around.
How is TSMC the logical safe bet for the nation as a whole? Logical safe bet the government will earn money? So farmers don't need to make a living, while big companies continue to generate record profits? Farmers always get the short end of the stick because people always assume that food will drop from the sky and they will always be able to find food in the supermarket.

TSMC is not a new company and neither is it a small company. All these years in business, have TSMC actually invested a lot to help with this potential water issue? Yes, but its mostly for their own use, and the rest like farmers and people in the country, so happen to benefit from it because TSMC is pulling less water from the reservoir. Also, this is not the first time they experienced a drought due to weather conditions, and I wonder how much did the government actually spent to try and address this issue over the years.
 
Reactions: thisisaname

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
How is TSMC the logical safe bet for the nation as a whole? Logical safe bet the government will earn money? So farmers don't need to make a living, while big companies continue to generate record profits?
The government's projection was that the rice crops were likely going to fail no matter what. Would the farmers make any profit from failed crops? No, they would have made even higher losses trying to save them with still insufficient water. Then the government ends up having to bail farmers even worse on top of losing taxes on businesses that could have used the water to operate closer to normal.

It makes more sense for the government to tell farmers to cut their seemingly inevitable losses so the water can be used somewhere productive and spend some of the tax money to bail farmers out until the next season.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts