Thursday, July 31, 2008

From the Japanese era: Shanshang's Watercourse (China Post)

Shanshang Township is one of the most bucolic parts of Tainan County. The population is less than 8,000. Many residents are fruit farmers, and most people younger than 35 have moved away to work or to study.

The Zengwen River, one of South Taiwan's most important drainages, forms the township's northern boundary. More than a hundred years ago, the Japanese regime that was handed control of Taiwan chose Shanshang to be the location of a water-filtration plant that would supply drinkable water to the region's growing population.

The facility, now known as the Old Tainan Watercourse, has not been used since the 1980s. The complex (two large structures, plus a handful of smaller buildings surrounded by tall trees), however, remains a striking landmark and a fascinating - albeit difficult - place to visit.

The Tainan Watercourse was first proposed in 1897, but the colonial authorities did not allocate funds for its construction until 1912. A decade later, the British-made filtration system - the first installed in Taiwan - was cleansing 450,000 cubic meters of water a day.

In 2002, Tainan County Government designated the watercourse a local historic site. Three years later, the Ministry of the Interior added it to the central government's list of national relics...

To read the rest of this article, go here. Last year I wrote a longer article about the same place for, a government-sponsored website.

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