;When the Chinese immigrants reclaimed toward Hsinchu area during the period of Qing rule, Fongshan River and Toucian River became the major sources of irrigation water in that area. Whether in the period of Qing rule, the Japanese colonial period, or the postwar period, the water of the irrigation canals and of the livelihood in Hsinchu area mostly came from these rivers. Before Taiwan transformed into a commercial and industrial society, these rivers were the mothers of the agricultural development in Hsinchu and the economic lifelines of the area.
The irrigation infrastructure in Hsinchu area was established with the reclamation and building of the irrigation canals by the Chinese immigrants within the period of Qing rule. During the Japanese colonial period, Taiwan Governor-General Office repaired the existing canals and implemented modern civil engineering projects to promote agricultural development. Meanwhile, it merged the irrigation organizations in Taiwan islandwide. Government involvement was the most important influence on the irrigation business in Taiwan at the time.
When Taiwan was returned to the Republic of China after World War II, the government continued to be involved in the irrigation organizations. Hsinchu Irrigation Organization was transformed from an institution to a council, and was eventually entitled “Hsinchu Irrigation Association” (hereinafter referred to as HIA). Government control and involvement in HIA increased with the transformation. Through the analysis of HIA personnel and financial data, this research finds that the number of its employees has been constantly declining and the statistics indicate the aging tendency of its employees. It also shows that political parties and the local influence play important roles in HIA personnel. Although HIA went through difficult financial situation in the early stage, with the solidness of the irrigation infrastructure, the effective management of water sources and proper financial planning as well as organization transformation, the operation of HIA has tended to stabilize.
The irrigation in Hsinchu area was stable during the Japanese colonial period while the amount of rice production sharply increased. The irrigation facilities were damaged during World War II. When the government of the Republic of China took over Taiwan, it aimed at the repairs and maintenance of the irrigation canals, building dams and implementing canal engineering projects, and enhancing water consumption management. As a result, despite
the fact that the rice paddies were constantly shrinking, with the increase of irrigation water sources and the improvement of the farming techniques, the yield of rice per unit area rose steadily. It is clear that HIA has significant contributions to the agriculture in Hsinchu area, and, on the other hand, Hshinchu farmers’ associations and HIA are closely related.