Description and Details

This project was con­struct­ed start­ing in 2004 that served to trans­fer water between the Laonong Riv­er and the Tseng-Wen Riv­er in Tai­wan. The ini­tial pro­pos­al was approved in 1999, and it was sched­uled to be com­plet­ed in 2012, how­ev­er Typhoon Morakot in 2009 halt­ed progress indefinitely. 

The project was spon­sored by the Tai­wanese Water Resources Agency in an attempt to mit­i­gate poten­tial future droughts by trans­fer­ring water from the Laonong Riv­er to the reser­voirs of the Tseng-Wen Riv­er dur­ing the wet sea­son. While the project was nev­er com­plet­ed, its con­struc­tion process pro­vid­ed a num­ber of jobs to those in near­by areas.

The rel­e­vance of the project to the top­ics of equi­ty and bias were that the area where the project was con­struct­ed, and thus the area rav­aged by the typhoon (a dis­as­ter that was made worse by the ongo­ing water project), was pri­mar­i­ly pop­u­lat­ed by mem­bers of the Bunun tribe. Although the project was intend­ed to help address poten­tial future droughts in the area, and not moti­vat­ed by bias or dis­crim­i­na­tion, there was will­ful and con­tin­ued igno­rance of both indige­nous pro­tes­tors and of envi­ron­men­tal groups, who argued that this project would unfair­ly ben­e­fit not local com­mu­ni­ties but a few peo­ple with select inter­ests, and that the con­struc­tion of the project dis­rupt­ed local fault zones. This meant that the poten­tial for dis­as­ter caused or com­pound­ed by the project was known about even before the dev­as­ta­tion brought by Typhoon Morakot. 

CEE sub­jects: Con­struc­tion Engi­neer­ing and Man­age­ment, Envi­ron­men­tal Engi­neer­ing, Geot­ech­ni­cal Engi­neer­ing, Earth Sys­tems, Envi­ron­men­tal Pol­i­cy and Sus­tain­able Infrastructure

Discussion Questions

  • Three groups were major par­tic­i­pants in the debate sur­round­ing the Tseng-Wen Reser­voir Water Diver­sion Project; the gov­ern­ment, cli­mate sci­en­tists, and the local indige­nous pop­u­la­tion. While in this project, the gov­ern­ment sup­port­ed the build­ing of the project while sci­en­tists and the local pop­u­la­tion argued against it, these lines in the debate do not always fall the same way. Dis­cuss sit­u­a­tions where these groups might have sided dif­fer­ent­ly; for exam­ple, a sit­u­a­tion where the local pop­u­la­tion and the gov­ern­ment would argue for a project while sci­en­tists would argue against it.