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Wednesday | May 19, 2021
Drought also threatens semiconductors

Drought also threatens semiconductors

While we too post news briefs on the antics of miners, we remain aware that the global semiconductor shortage is the main reason why PC components and new game consoles are so hard to find right now. While the impacts of the health crisis are undoubtedly the most telling elements of this crisis, other problems could arise and set off a devastating game of dominoes…including the drought in Taiwan. sécheresse taïwan

Taiwan is experiencing its worst drought in nearly 60 years

The island which is normally hit by three or four tropical storms per year has been relatively spared in recent months. No typhoon hit the country during the summer of 2020. This situation, which should logically be seen as positive, has resulted in the country being plunged into its worst period of drought. What is the link between the chip industry and water? First of all, it should be noted that Taiwan is home to two of the world’s largest foundries: TSMC and UMC. In our case, it is the situation of TSMC that interests us the most.

A typical foundry uses 9 to 20 million liters of pure water per day

Water levels in several reservoirs in the central and southern region of the island are less than 20% of normal, which is a real concern. The country’s Minister of Economy, Wang Mei-hua, said that “the challenge of water resources for Taiwan is as important as that of the Saharan countries”. Nevertheless he wants to reassure that the country has enough water to ensure the supply of local chip manufacturers until May. Hoping that the rainfall (and typhoons) will be there for the summer. But as a precaution, the government has asked companies to reduce their water consumption by 7 to 11%. sécheresse taïwan A foundry needs 9 to 20 million liters of water per day, but TSMC already has a plan to recycle about 90% of that volume. To ensure the remaining 10%, the company has begun ordering water by tanker to supply some of its facilities across the island. TSMC alone uses the equivalent of 8,000 tankers of water per day from the northeast of the island. While the central and southern parts of the island, where the factories are located, have not experienced heavy rainfall for some time, this is not the case in the northeast where rain has fallen for 27 days in a row.

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Edited by Calliers

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