Taiwan drought: Man retrieves phone dropped in lake a year ago

·2 min read

Taiwan's worst drought in 56 years has dried up one of its most iconic lakes - but this has resulted in good news for at least one man.

The man surnamed Chen claims he dropped his mobile phone while paddleboarding in the Sun Moon Lake a year ago .

But last week, a worker contacted him to say the phone had been found - its case covered in dried mud.

Mr Chen who says he could not sleep for excitement, added the phone worked thanks to its waterproof covering.

His story is a rare positive one in the East Asian island, which is facing measures like water rationing due to a severe dry spell.

It has also adversely affected its semiconductor industry which is the largest in the world.

Mr Chen said the worker who returned the phone had told him that the Sun Moon lake was seeing its lowest water levels in "50 to 60 years".

Many social media users have been posting selfies at the popular tourist spot in recent days, where the ground in some parts has dried up so much that the mud has cracked.

In other parts of the lake, vegetation has grown over the lake bed, making the area look like grassy plains instead.

People take photos on the exposed riverbed of Taiwan"s Touqian river, a main water source for Hsinchu Science Park where major semiconductor companies are based, in Hsinchu, Taiwan during an island-wide drought, March 12, 2021.
Selfie-worthy: People have been taking pictures at the exposed riverbed of the Touqian river

Taiwan's dry spell comes after not a single typhoon made landfall last year, the first time this has happened in more than half a century. The typhoons usually bring abundant rainfall to the island.

It has forced officials to implement water rationing measures, affecting more than one million households and businesses in the cities of Taichung, Miaoli and northern Changhua county.

On rationing days, various restrictions are in place, including no-shampoo treatments at hair salons and no car washes at petrol stations.

A man scoops water from a bathtub, where he stores water amid water rationing during an island-wide drought, in Hsinchu, Taiwan March 12, 2021.
This resident stored water in a bathtub amid water rationing measures

People have also taken pictures at the exposed riverbed of the Touqian river, a main water source for Hsinchu Science Park where major semiconductor companies are based.

Taiwan's water shortage is expected to impact the water-intensive microchip manufacturing sector, worsening a global shortage of semiconductors that power everything from computers to smartphones.

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In 2015, Taiwan faced similar water shortage problems and about three million people had their supplies rationed.