Okinawa bases impose water restrictions
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — It may have rained on Okinawa most of last week, but U.S. military bases here are going forward with plans to impose restrictions on the use of water during Okinawa’s current water crisis.
Beginning Tuesday there will be a ban on the washing of personal cars, and organizations that hold car washes to raise money will have to find other fund-raising projects.
According to a notice posted by the Marine Corps on Friday, base residents also are being urged to conserve water by washing full loads of clothes, minimizing time in the shower, limiting the watering of gardens to once every other day, and promptly reporting all water leaks.
“We must make every effort to conserve water to avoid rationing, which will be the next step in water conservation if the water situation does not improve,” the notice stated.
The measure was directed by the 18th Wing on Kadena Air Base, which manages all the island’s military family housing.
The policy does not apply to Army and Air Force Exchange car wash services on the military bases.
“We will continue with this policy until further notice, or when there is no longer a danger of water rationing,” Col. Steven Lillemon, 18th Civil Engineering Group commander, said.
The island’s water supply was 57.4 percent of capacity Friday afternoon, a drop of one percent since Monday, according to an official at the Okinawa Prefectural Enterprise Bureau’s Water Supply Section.
The average reservoir level dropped 4.2 percent during the past two weeks.
A weather forecaster at the Okinawa Meteorological Observatory said the recent cold and wet spell that swept the island during the past two weeks did not contribute much to the water supply.
Total rainfall for the month was 5.22 inches, above the January average of 4.58 inches — but it fell in the wrong place, the forecaster said.
“It did not rain much in northern areas,” he said. Only 2.48 inches of rain fell on the island’s north, where most of the reservoirs are located.
“That is just 51 percent of the monthly average,” he said.
— Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.