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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — For Misawa main base residents, this would be a bad year for a dry spell.

The water plant that serves those living on the main part of base is shut down through Nov. 1 while the lower pump house is rebuilt.

The facility, when in use, produces about 450,000 gallons a day with water drawn from nearby Lake Anenuma, said Master Sgt. Eric Campbell, utilities superintendent for the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron.

To compensate for the shuttered plant, officials are increasing production of six water wells that also supply water to the main base. They’re also asking main base residents to conserve water.

“We want to save wear and tear on our well pumps,” Campbell said.

The conservation recommendations apply to main base residents only through Nov. 1; people living in the North Area and on Security Hill receive their water from different sources. Information was not immediately available Wednesday on the number of residents affected.

Main base residents are asked to refrain from:

watering lawns;washing privately owned vehicles;operating washing machines and dishwashers without full loads; andrunning the water and garbage disposal after the grinding has stopped.They also should report leaking faucets immediately to housing maintenance at DSN 226-4663, officials said. “There’s many ways you can conserve water,” Campbell said. “We always tell our kids, ‘Don’t brush your teeth with the water running.’”

Residents won’t be punished, per se, for not adhering to the recommendations. But if they’re seen or reported washing their car or watering the lawn, for instance, they may get a knock on the door reminding them to conserve water, Campbell said.

During the reconstruction project, the six water wells will operate 18 — up from 11 — hours a day, to produce about a million gallons daily. That’s about the same amount the plant and wells pump together, when both are operational, which means that water production for main base during the construction project won’t level off, Campbell said.

“People don’t need to worry about any break in service due to the renovations,” said Capt. John Haynes, a Misawa base spokesman. “Everything from the [water] tower to the sink is the same. It doesn’t affect water pressure or availability.”

In the unlikely event of an extremely dry summer — Misawa receives about 33 inches of rainfall annually — “We could run the risk of drying out the aquifer,” Campbell said.

Local contractors are rebuilding the 1950s-era pump house. The government of Japan is funding the reconstruction. The project cost was not immediately available Wednesday.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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