Severe drought heightens need to use drinking water wisely
Most of Hawai‘i Island is experiencing severe drought, with extreme drought now occurring in multiple regions, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map that shows conditions have worsened since last month’s update: https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CurrentMap/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?HI.
The Nov. 2 map supports the National Weather Service’s forecast of intensifying drought conditions expected to peak January through February 2024 and continue later into the year.
Due to the drought forecast, the Department of Water Supply will closely monitor its 23 public water systems to continue fulfilling its mission to provide customers with an adequate and continuous supply of safe drinking water in a financially responsible manner. Special focus will be placed on the South Kohala Water System that primarily uses stream or surface water that is more susceptible to drought conditions than water from underground aquifers which produce the remainder of the approximately 25 million gallons of safe drinking water the Department delivers daily to its customers.
If the Department of Water Supply’s pumping capabilities cannot sustain the water needs of all customers and the public served by a respective water system, the Department of Water Supply will have to ask those customers to reduce their water use. Measures could include a request to cut back on irrigation, undertake 10% voluntary conservation, or comply with a mandatory 25% reduction notice so the Department of Water Supply can maintain an adequate supply of safe drinking water for all customers. Water customers can do their part by fixing common household water leaks, irrigating efficiently, and switching to low-flow toilets. Other helpful water conservation tips can be found at the Department’s website, www.hawaiidws.org, by clicking on the “Conservation” tab in the homepage drop-down menu.