During the first crops growing period in the first half of this year, southern Taiwan was severely impacted by climate change, with rainfall levels at their lowest level for 30 years. As a result, the flow rate of the Gaoping River, the main source for agricultural irrigation, dropped to below 5cm and the drought was worse than in the first half of 2021.
The Kaohsiung Management Office of the Irrigation Agency drew on its drought-prevention experience to formulate measures in advance of supplying irrigation water. During the irrigation period, it was able to review and adjust water condition in a timely manner, establishing an emergency and contingency team to initiate drought-prevention work such as strengthening irrigation management and rotational irrigation. Staff at the management office and workstations are dedicated to their work and often worked weekends and holidays to ensure the first crops of the year received sufficient water. As a result, the irrigation districts under the office were able to started harvesting in mid-May.
The Drought Relief Contingency Plan adopted the countermeasures of "finding, distributing and diverting water".
"Finding water" - each workstation took stock of alternative water sources, including rivers, regional drainage, farmland drainage, public and private wells etc.
"Distributing water" - Each irrigation district within the jurisdiction implemented rotating irrigation, utilizing precise water distribution and mutual scheduling support with the irrigation district, to respond to water demand peaks.
"Diverting Water" – With the assistance of the River Management Offices water flow on the Qishan River, Laonong River and Gaoping River and other rivers was diverted to increase water intake volume.
Director Lu Wenhao said that irrigation water was successfully provided for the first crops of the year, but the most impressive thing was that this year's rice production was actually higher than previous years. This task was achieved by the joint efforts of staff at the Kaohsiung Management Office and workstations, production and marketing group and team leaders, as well as front line water controllers and farmers.