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Mandatory 25% Water Restriction Imposed in South Kohala

Posted November 8, 2013, 05:16 PM HST
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Seen in this Google Earth image are the Department of Water Supply's three reservoirs located above Waimea (click to enlarge). The middle one is dry as it is still awaiting repairs.

A prolonged drought has resulted in a mandatory restriction on water use in South Kohala.

The county Department of Water Supply today issued the water restriction notice which requires those on the county’s system to reduce their water consumption by 25% immediately.

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The area affected by the notice stretches from Waimea to Kawaihae.

Areas not affected by the notice include the Kawaihae Village subdivision, Waimea Airport and the Hawaiian Home Lands areas of Lalamilo, Pu`ukapu, Honokaia and Nienie.

The department had previously issued calls for a voluntary 10% reduction.

Spokesman Kanani Aton said the new notice was triggered by the dropping of water storage levels in the Waimea system to 60 million gallons.

The DWS has three 50-million gallon reservoirs in the Waimea area, although one is still awaiting repairs for damage resulting from the 2006 Kiholo Bay earthquake.

The reservoirs are fed by treated water from streams supplemented by a deep well.

National Weather Service data show rainfall levels ranging from 33% to 49% of normal rainfall at the area’s three rain gauges for the first 10 months of the year. The gauges recorded similar levels in 2012.

Water Supply officials provided the following tips for water conservation:

  • Wash full loads of laundry or dishes at a time
  • Check faucets and pipes for leaks
  • Serve drinking water only when requested
  • Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator
  • Do not let the faucet run unnecessarily
  • When bathing, use water only to wet and rinse off
  • Do not fill up the bathtub
  • Use a glass to rinse when brushing your teeth
  • Do not flush toilets unnecessarily
  • Stop lawn sprinkling
  • Stop car and boat washing
  • Stop dust control watering
  • Use drinking water wisely

Agricultural water users were also asked to keep water usage to a minimum. That included irrigation only from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. to reduce water loss from evaporation and to minimize the strain on the system during peak demand periods.

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