Subscribe

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Okinawa officials are anxiously waiting for something you are not looking forward to — the rainy season.

Alarmed by the unusually low water levels as a result of the driest winter since 1897, members of the Okinawa Draught Countermeasure Council held a meeting Monday, urging all to conserve water.

As of Monday, the water level average at the island’s 10 reservoirs was 52.6 percent, more than 20 percent below an average year, according to a statement released after the council’s meeting.

But there is hope with the rainy season approaching, said Takeshi Nakasone, a spokesman for Okinawa General Bureau, a Tokyo government agency that manages the island’s seven major reservoirs.

"We believe that the situation will recover once rainy season starts," he said. Rainy season routinely begins in early May and runs until mid-June.

"However," he added, "it all depends how much rain would fall during the season."

According to Okinawa Meteorological Observatory, rainfall during the season is expected to be less than the average year.

Meanwhile, water conservation efforts have begun at some military bases.

Officials at Kadena Air Base are monitoring water usage and said if reservoir levels continue to drop after the rainy season, officials will implement further conservation measures on base.

The base currently restricts lawn watering and car washing at homes, and recently started an asset management training program that helps supervisors find ways to reduce consumption, Air Force Lt. Col. David Wilder, commander of the 718th Civil Engineer Squadron, said in an e-mail Tuesday to Stars and Stripes.

Water usage numbers were not available Tuesday, but base officials reported last year that residents and employees on Kadena use an average of 3.8 million gallons of water daily.

Marine officials at Camp Foster did not say whether the bases have adopted any recent water conservation measures, but in an e-mail Tuesday to Stripes said it would coordinate all drought countermeasures with the Okinawa Enterprise Bureau.

Numbers for water usage on Marine bases were not released Tuesday.

The island-wide daily water consumption is about 109.6 million gallons, according to the drought countermeasure council.

Water officials predicted that water levels would dip to 28 percent of the capacity by September if the levels decrease in the same speed as they did last year.

Stars and Stripes reporter Natasha Lee contributed to this story.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up