Drought in Taiwan may lead to reduced supply of semiconductors

När Taiwan ställs inför en av sina värsta torkor på ett sekel, konkurrerar både landsbygden och högteknologin om vatten. I södra Taiwan susar höghastighetståg förbi nu karga risfält, en påminnelse om att öns anrika jordbruksliv ofta existerade harmoniskt med de mest avancerade halvledartillverkningsbaserna i världen.  Nu är problemet att en torka i Taiwan kan leda till ett minskat utbud av halvledare.

As Taiwan faces one of its worst droughts in a century, both rural and high-tech industries are competing for water. In southern Taiwan, high-speed trains whiz past now barren rice fields, a reminder that the island’s ancient agricultural life often existed harmoniously with the most advanced semiconductor manufacturing bases in the world. Now the problem is that a drought in Taiwan could lead to a reduced supply of semiconductors.

Paid not to grow rice

For the third year in a row, rice farmers in southern Taiwan have not been allowed to plant their crops. Instead, the government pays them subsidies not to grow rice this season, because it uses the water needed by nearby semiconductor plants.

The absence of seasonal typhoons left reservoirs so dry that semiconductor manufacturers such as TSMC were forced to truck in water to keep factories running.

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