The Waters of Memory Return Home: Laiyi Community Share Erfeng Ditch’s Water of Life Gulou Village at the water source and Xinlaiyi Community downstream had different ideas on diverting water from E


Gulou Village at the water source and Xinlaiyi Community downstream had different ideas on diverting water from Erfeng Ditch to irrigate farmland at Xinlaiyi permanent housing via pipeline. Fortunately, a consensus was reached after mediation by the Executive Yuan’s Morakot Post-Disaster Reconstruction Council through the use of a Village Autonomous Management of Effective Water Allocation model. The opening ceremony for the pipeline’s completion was held on June 14th. This allows all Laiyi villagers to share the water, imbued as it is with memories of homeland. It also reunites villagers now separated at two different locations.

After Typhoon Morakot more than four years ago some of the villagers from Laiyi, Yilin, Danlin and Dahou villages, Laiyi Township, Pingtung County, relocated to Xinlaiyi permanent housing site in Xinpi Township. In order to supply the older village residents with water needed to irrigate their farmland, the Reconstruction council utilized NT$3.83 million in donations from Mainland China to subsidize a water pipeline that diverted water from Gulou village in Laiyi Township, upstream of Erfeng Ditch, to Xinlaiyi permanent housing site. However, issues with water rights, road rights, and strong objections from Gulou villagers after construction began on December 9th last year caused numerous delays to the project.

During high flow periods, Erfeng Ditch provides enough water for both communities. The issue stems from low flow periods, with Gulou villagers worry about their domestic water supply being diverted. Those residing in Xinlaiyi community feel that water from Erfeng Ditch is like a mother nurturing the villagers and they miss the water of home. They did not want to lose this link to the water as a result of relocation. Both parties held firm to their position, but when Chern Jenn-Chuan of the Reconstruction Council learned of this, he invited villagers from both sides and their representatives to negotiations. He even visited the water intake location at Erfeng Ditch to familiarize himself with the water source before proposing a solution where both parties compromised.

Chern informed representatives from Gulou Village that as the Xinlaiyi pipeline would only divert 5% of total water volume, it would have a limited effect on water available to Gulou villagers. However, in order to respect the opinions of Gulou villagers at the source of the water supply, he suggested that they manage the water supply independently. During low flow periods, domestic water use at Gulou Village would still take precedence, wth a valve being installed at the water supply point to facilitate management. In the evenings, when water usage is low at Gulou Village, the valve will allow water flow downstream to store in Xinlaiyi Community’s water towers. In this way, the community would still obtain water for irrigation. In the future, the township office and villagers will work together to establish management procedures. The Village Autonomous Management of Effective Water Allocation model proposed by Chern resulted in agreement from both parties to share the water.

Erfeng Ditch was designed in 1922 by Torii Nobuhei, a Japanese engineer who designed and oversaw the construction of the dike has 92 years of history. Villagers from Laiyi Township have historically been involved in construction, and this has always been a vital water source for them. The opening ceremony for the pipeline was held on June 14th. It runs along Erfeng Ditch’s path and County Highway 185 for 8.2km to bring water to three water towers at the Xinlaiyi permanent housing site, where residents were relocated after Typhoon Morakot. This will infuse Xinlaiyi with new water of life and has considerable symbolism for residents.


CEO Chern visited the water intake location at Erfeng Ditch


Water tank in Xinlaiyi Permanent housing to reserve the water from Erfeng Ditch

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