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The present situation and achievement of water leakage prevention

Early phase dedication to the development of water source

Taiwan's rivers are fast-flowing due to their short length and steep grade and therefore have great a impact on the uneven distribution of rainfall in terms of time and geographical coverage. These factors lead to the situation that annual average per capita water resources only reached 12% of world average, left Taiwan as ranked 18 in most water-stressed countries around the world listing.

The population and the city development grew rapidly over the past 60 years where Taipei Water Department to focus more on the coverage extension in order to catch up the increasing demand of water resources. Nowadays, we all realize that water resources are limited and it's time to take some actions to utilize the resources smarter and more efficiently. Therefore, leaking prevention becomes an important topic for the next action to be carefully evaluated.

Due to the existing regulation, Taipei Water Department used to be replacing only the major distribution pipes since the branch water pipes are categorized as end user properties that outside the government replacement list. These branch pipe systems aged and the leaking issue got more severe over years. Moreover, limited budget had been allocated on system and coverage expanding while left very little resources for old pipe replacement which also speed up the aging and leaking of the fragile water system.

Water supply pipes and water meter

Even leaking issue seems small at first glance, it will cause big problem if it was notcarefully handled.In 2002, a lot of Greater Taipei area residents experienced a severe water shortage which pointed out the importance and urgency of solving the leaking issue.

A long waiting line at water station during the drought period at Taipei in 2002.A long waiting line at water station during the drought period at Taipei in 2002.
A long waiting line at water station during the drought period at Taipei in 2002.


Implementing water leakage prevention controls

Taipei Water Department decided to speed up the renovation of pipe network system in 2003 and kicked off leaking prevention mid-term and long-term plans which means about 23 billionNTD of investment are allocated on related projects. This includes distribution pipe replacement and free upgrade for all outdoor water pipes to be stainless steel material in order toutilize water resources as efficiently as other countries in the world.In the 20-year long term plan, the final goal is to reduce the leaking rate down to 10% at year 2025.

The plan and goal for short, medium, and long term water leakage reduction management


According to International Water Association, in order to maintain the pipe network at its best condition and service quality, the annual pipe replacement should be at least 1.5%. Taipei Water Department already remain a record of replacement rate higher than 1.5% with 21 consecutive years which is higher than the suggested ratio. Therefore, we can reduce the leaking impact on our pipe network and ensure water won’t be polluted during transmission. 

2003~2023Annual leaking prevention execution result

  • Total replaced pipe length:3030.52km
  • Reduce leakage rate:17.73%

Water leakage reduction management helps relieve drought stress

In fact, the rainfall within January to July in 2009 was almost same as the rainfall during drought period in 2002 for Feitsui Reservoir. The difference was that this time, Taipei city not only free from the water shortage nightmare but even has the spare capacity to supply water for nearby areas in New Taipei City. The most important key point is the leaking rate dropped from 28.44% to 22.02%. This 6% difference, which means almost 90 million tons of water, now can successfully deliver to residents’ home rather than leaked into underground. That is, the city now is having more resources and better system to fight back any possible drought.

Acknowledgment from the world 

The long-term leaking prevention plan is target to complete at 2025. Although the whole project is not finished yet, there are positive feedback and improvement observed in terms of leaking rate and the pipeline structure. As a result, Taipei Water Department won the “2010 Project Innovation Awards” at International Water Association (IWA). This is the first time that Taipei Water Department received such recognition and is also the glory of Taipei City.