Taiwan Drought Risks Global Chip Shortage
Taiwan Drought Risks Global Chip Shortage

TAIPEI, TAIWAN — Taiwan's worst drought in decades could further strain an already unstable global supply chain for production of the semiconductors that power the world's notebooks, monitors, TVs, smartphones, tablets and cars.

In an average year, Taiwan receives 2,500 millimeters of rainfall, the most of any OECD-equivalent country, according to Taiwan Business Topics.

However, while typhoons usually hit Taiwan from the east during the rainy season and help replenish reservoirs, in 2020 no typhoon made landfall.

The effect has been a drastic drop in water supply, with water levels at the country's largest reservoir, Tsengwen, falling to their lowest in 15 years, and the Baihe reservoir now completely dry, AFP reports.

Taiwan's semiconductor industry is vulnerable to the drop because its processes for cleaning chips and creating a hyper-sterile environment for their production are water intensive.

AFP reports its largest manufacturer, TSMC, alone goes through 156,000 metric tons of water a day.