Water users urged to conserve amid El Nino conditions

April 19, 2010, 3:25 PM HST · Updated April 19, 6:58 PM
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The state Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) is asking Hawaii residents and businesses to help in conserving water amid ongoing El Nino conditions.  State officials say the El Niño phenomenon created abnormally dry winter season conditions throughout the state that are expected to continue through the spring.

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows that Hawai‘i is under drought conditions ranging from “D0” meaning abnormally dry, to an unprecedented “D4” rating meaning exceptional drought or some of the worst conditions in the country.

Simple reminders to save water include taking shorter showers, irrigating lawns between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m., washing only full loads of laundry, and repairing leaks at the home and office.

“Hawai‘i is suffering from drought and the current El Niño has exacerbated the situation,” said Ken Kawahara, Commission on Water Resource Management deputy director.

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“By conserving water, we may be able to avoid mandatory water restrictions that could be imposed by the County water departments or private water utilities as we move into the drier months of the year,” said Kawahara.

According to the report, some residents who normally rely on rainwater catchment have resorted to hauling water. The dry weather has also resulted in wildfire hazards, with the National Weather Service last week issuing red flag warnings indicating that critical fire weather conditions were occurring in some areas of the state.

Last month, Governor Linda Lingle sent letters to all state agencies encouraging water conservation measures.

“Drought impacts all sectors of the community and everyone can do their part so that we do not waste one of our most precious natural resources.  I have asked all state agencies to conserve water by being diligent in reporting and repairing leaks, and irrigating during the cooler morning hours,” she said.

(Posted by Wendy Osher; supporting information courtesy Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources)

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