The nation has been facing the worst drought in 56 years
Taiwan has eased concerns that global semiconductor shortages could escalate by ensuring that the industry has enough water to hold local chip makers, including TSMC, on board until May. President Tsai Ing-wen has urged people to save water as the island experiences the worst drought in 56 years since no typhoons occurred in 2020; it is normally struck by three or four tropical storms a year.
Speaking to reporters earlier this week, the country’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Wang Mei-hua, said that the drought has not yet affected TSMC or other businesses, writes the South China Morning Post. A standard semiconductor production facility uses two to four million gallons of ultra-pure water per day.
The worldwide semiconductor shortage that could last until next year is the biggest reason that new PC hardware and gaming consoles are too hard to find right now—incoming Qualcomm’s CEO admits the situation keeps him awake at night. It also has a crippling impact on the automotive industry, which cut chip orders at the onset of the pandemic and is now unable to satisfy demand. With many carmakers pausing vehicle production, US, Japanese and European officials are reportedly urging Taiwan to do all it can to keep the supply of chips steady.
TSMC spokeswoman Nina Kao said that the firm had limited its use and requested small quantities of water from the truck load in preparation for any constraints. Any more interruptions in chip manufacturing, such as those caused by the temporary closure of Texas fabs due to adverse weather conditions, will intensify the already complicated situation. Yet, it seems like TSMC is planning for the worst.
Taiwan has recently introduced recycling policies that have helped to conserve 701 million tonnes of water, guaranteeing a sufficient supply by May with an extra one month reserve. The monsoon rains were supposed to arrive by that time.