The worst drought in more than half a century has driven parts of Taiwan to implement water rationing and even shut off water in some areas. Not only is the drought taking its toll on key industries such as agriculture, but it is also hitting the technology sector notably hard.

When thinking of drought, what comes to mind for many is low-water levels in large bodies of water and parched agricultural fields. While that is true of the current drought in Taiwan, the large technology sector that calls Taiwan home is also struggling to deal with the water shortage. 

Taiwan is home to some of the world’s largest and most advanced microchip factories in the world, according to Tech Xplore, a news organization that covers the technology industry. Manufacturing microchips is a very water-intensive process that uses billions of gallons of water each year to protect products from contamination.

The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), located in Taiwan is responsible for producing more than 90 percent of the world’s most advanced microchips, according to The New York Times.

With the ongoing drought, the Taiwanese government has imposed water rationing for more than 1 million households in central Taiwan and has turned off water in some areas for two days a week. Irrigation has been halted on about a fifth of Taiwan’s irrigated land and farmers have been given incentives by the government not to grow crops this year. 

According to the Times, officials in Taiwan are calling this the worst drought in more than 50 years.

Taipei and Taichung City each reported below-normal precipitation during 2020. Taipei, located in northern Taiwan, reported just 50 percent of the typical rainfall for the year. Taichung City, in central Taiwan, received 70 percent of its yearly rainfall.