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Taiwan Is Experiencing Its Worst Drought In 56 Years And The Photos Are Unreal

Taiwan has been experiencing its worst drought in more than half a century for 18 months now after no typhoons hit the island last year.

The country relies on typhoons in the summer and autumn to top up reservoirs, but not one typhoon made landfall in 2020, the first time that had happened since 1964.

The situation is the worst in central Taiwan, where some reservoirs are effectively empty or at 5% capacity or less.

Dried reservoir bed at the Liyutan Reservoir in Miaoli, Taiwan.
Dried reservoir bed at the Liyutan Reservoir in Miaoli, Taiwan. (Photo by Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images)

Sun Moon Lake, one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, has dried up, revealing a cracked lakebed.

People stand at previously submerged land of the Sun Moon Lake in Nantou, Taiwan.
People stand at previously submerged land of the Sun Moon Lake in Nantou, Taiwan. (Photo by Nantou County Government/Handout via Reuters)

The lake is so dry that one man found a phone he dropped into the lake a year earlier that was still working. Influencers are posting photos of them lying on a boat half buried in the lakebed.

A woman is lying on a boat in the lakebed.
@hsingfang20 / Instagram

The government has turned off water for everyone for two days a week in several major cities, including Taichung, Taiwan’s second largest city, which has a population of 2.8 million.

On these days, some restaurants and public toilets are closed. Residents are having to store excess water in their bathtubs during the week for the two days without water.

People visit dried up Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan's Nantou County, as Taiwan has experienced its worst drought in half a century.
People visit dried up Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan’s Nantou County, as Taiwan has experienced its worst drought in half a century. (Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images)

The water shortage is causing concerns that it could affect the island’s semi-conductor industry, which makes most of the world’s computer chips.

One of the companies, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is responsible for more than 90% of the world’s manufacturing capacity for the most advanced chips, producing chips for Apple, Intel and other major companies, according to the New York Times.

This aerial photo shows a truck riding along the empty Ai Liao river bed in Pingtung county, southern Taiwan.
This aerial photo shows a truck riding along the empty Ai Liao river bed in Pingtung county, southern Taiwan. (Photo by SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)

TSMC, which uses about 156 million liters of water each day, according to the Guardian, has hauled trucks of water from other areas. The company says its production has not yet been affected, but it also has plans to invest $100 billion over the next three years to increase capacity.

To try and combat the water shortage, the government has tried to trigger rain by dumping cloud-seeding chemicals with military planes.

Two people are standing by the boat in the lakebed.
@zhenisme / Instagram

It also built a seawater desalination plant in Hsinchu, where TSMC’s headquarters are located, and a pipeline connecting Hsinchu to the north, where it rains more frequently.

The government has also allocated 2.5 billion New Taiwan dollars ($88 million) to drill wells and build emergency seawater desalination facilities, according to the New York Times.

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