Michael A. Turton
I want to come. What should I do? Crime and Safety
What to Bring Health
Finding, Renting, Housing Money
Water Posts and Telecommunications
Transportation Personal Services
Recreation and Travel Learning Chinese
The Social Side Food in Taiwan
Driving in Taiwan Bringing Kids?
Keeping a Pet Living in Taiwan, Returning to America
Email Me Back to Teaching English in Taiwan home page
Water: even when undrinkable, it's still priceless.
A typical neighborhood water machine.
Taiwan's water situation is pretty grim.  In fact, the various foreign chambers of commerce have finally begun to get on Taiwan's case for its inhuman living conditions. Although the island wants to be known as "technology island" it cannot supply such basic needs as clean water and clean air.  As of this writing, no water on the island is suitable for drinking directly from the tap. Be sure to check with the locals about your neighborhood water situation. Generally...



It's spring, and mothers are caring for their wee ones...

Taipei water is not safe for long-term drinking. It must be boiled before consumption.

Taichung water is not safe for long-term drinking. It must be filtered and boiled before consumption.

The Love River in Kaohsiung, once synonymous with waste and filth, now cleaned up and a major tourist attraction.
Kaohsiung water is not fit to dump over plants. Do not use tap water even after filtering and boiling.  In every neighborhood in Kaohsiung you will see what looks like gasoline dispensers. They dispense potable water, trucked in and stored in massive tanks. You must get your drinking water from these, and boil it (you don't think they clean those tanks, do you?). A typical water pump is shown at left, this one is outside a 7-11.

East Coast water must be boiled.

Enjoying a drink at a local fishing port.
The bottled water is no better.  Because of long transportation times, imported water suffers from bacteria build-up, while domestic water is a crapshoot.  Sometimes it is just tap water, bottled.  Periodically the newspapers will publish the results of government inspections of domestic bottled water companies.  They make scary reading.  Like this one published in 2001.
Taiwan's rivers are the sites of constant digging and construction, part of the system of government funds to local construction companies that forms the basis of the island' s local political economy.
A filter unit like this fits neatly under the sink. Filters require changing at 3-month intervals, but you should be able to persuade the salesman to offer you a years' supply free. One solution to the water problem is shown at left. This and related filter units are commonly sold in major stores. Ours is made by the reputable local manufacturer Chanson, and costs around US$200 installed. It scrubs the water to bottled water levels. Many families utilize similar units, or purchase distillation systems. 

A temple on the northwest coast near Hukou.

Sadly, my experience has been that Taiwan's failure to provide basic amenities like clean water has failed to stimulate thought among the locals about what all the development they've worked so hard to achieve is actually for.

Fortunately, there's always beer! Happy drinking!

I want to come. What should I do? Crime and Safety Recreation and Travel Bringing Kids?
What to Bring Health Learning Chinese Keeping a Pet
Finding, Renting, Housing Money The Social Side Living in Taiwan, Returning to America
Water Posts and Telecommunications Food in Taiwan
Transportation Personal Services Driving in Taiwan Back to Teaching English in Taiwan home page