The typhoon did not come, the water ran out, the production of chips in TSMC is endangered

Taiwan’s water supply is provided by a regular annual typhoon. It will bring moisture, the water resources agency will ensure the filling of dam reservoirs (intended for drinking water supply) and giant reservoirs. A large part of current consumption is then covered from these stocks. However, the regular typhoon did not come and, according to meteorologists, there are no signs that rain is approaching. Some areas are very dry (as Lai Chien-hsin, the head of water managers, shows on the map) and the volume of water in the reservoirs in some areas has already dropped to ~ 15% of capacity, even less:

The government has therefore issued measures that include a reduction in the use of drinking water from these sources in industry and agriculture. The problem also concerns the production of chips, as some of the TSMC factories are located in the affected areas, for example, a factory equipped with 5nm lines has problems. Last year, in connection with the construction of a plant in Arizona, TSMC stated that a water supply with a daily capacity of 4,000,000 gallons, or about 15,000,000 liters, was needed to ensure production. The situation in the factories in Taiwan is unlikely to be dramatically different.

An overview of water resources in Taiwan and their current filling, a down arrow indicates a steady decline in water supplies (an up arrow would indicate an increase in stocks, but this is not happening anywhere):

  • Mingten reservoir 11,60 % ↓
  • Te-Chi reservoir 13.63% ↓
  • Yeonghoshan reservoir 14,14 %
  • Second Baoshan reservoir 14,16 % ↓
  • Tsengwen reservoir 15,05 %
  • Liyutan reservoir 16,41 % ↓
  • Reservoir girth 48.93% ↓
  • Nanhwa reservoir 53,06 % ↓
  • Sun-Moon-Lake reservoir 54,27 % ↓
  • Shimen reservoir 54,51 %
  • Hu-Shan Reservoir 54.95%
  • A-Kung-Tien Reservoir 55,37 % ↓
  • Wu-Shan-Tou reservoir 59,56% ↓
  • Mudan reservoir 61,03 % ↓
  • Xinshan reservoir 90,65% ↓
  • Feitsui reservoir 91,42 %

TSMC is currently resolving the situation by ordering water tanks, where a delivery of 20,000 liters will cost $ 1,000 (CZK 21,500). Which means consuming up to hundreds of water tanks a day. Although it is not a negligible amount, there will be no such problem in money. If we take into account that a single 300mm wafer of 5nm chips cost $ 17,000 last year, then it would probably be profitable for TSMC, even if the entire tank fell on the production of a single wafer.

TSMC Fab 18, 5nm proces

However, water needs to be taken somewhere and it can be expected that in other areas of Taiwan it will gradually start running out and land imports will not be possible. Production thus depends on the ability to secure water supplies from external sources and strict adherence to the schedule of these supplies. There are more elements that can go wrong and further reduce production capacity and thus the supply of hardware that contains components manufactured at TSMC.


Source: Diit.cz by diit.cz.

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