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Taiwan to limit fresh water supply to semiconductor manufacturers to cope with drought
25.03.2021 [10:41],
Alexey Razin

Dry summers and autumn have left Taiwan’s reservoirs with minimal fresh water supplies over the past 56 years, and now the island’s authorities are forced to impose additional restrictions on water consumption until the rainy season begins at the end of May. Chip and display manufacturing in Taiwan will also be affected by restrictions.

Image source: Reuters

Previously, these unpopular measures were supposed to affect mainly Taiwan’s agriculture, which consumes the bulk of fresh water, but semiconductor component manufacturers have begun to conclude contracts for the supply of water in tanks in case of an unfavorable scenario. Now Nikkei Asian Review, citing statements from the Taiwanese authorities, reports that from the beginning of April, restrictive measures will affect the central regions of the island, where the production of chips and displays is concentrated.

From the first days of April, water consumption will have to be reduced by 13%, and from April 6 this figure will be increased to 15%. In fact, part of the districts of Taiwan will be divided into two zones, the first will not be supplied with water every Tuesday and Wednesday, the second — every Thursday and Friday. Display makers AU Optronics are cautiously optimistic so far. First, they purify up to 95% of the water used for reuse. Secondly, under their enterprises there are reservoirs designed to store volumes of water sufficient for ten days of work in normal mode. Just in case, contracts for the supply of water with cisterns have been concluded, trial drilling of wells is underway.

Water supply restrictions in Taiwan will affect TSMC, Winbond, Phison Electronics, GlobalWafers and Innolux. As already noted, TSMC is trying to insure itself by delivering water in tanks. It cannot be ruled out, however, that the current situation will ultimately have a negative impact on the production of semiconductor components and LCD displays in Taiwan. The last time a serious drought was observed in Taiwan was in 2021, when some regions lived in conditions of limited water supply until June for two months. The scale of the current shortage of fresh water on the island is even more serious.

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