Recent rain helps Okinawa, but water coservation is still urged
January 21, 2006
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — A week’s worth of rain has postponed a meeting to discuss whether Okinawa officials should impose water conservation measures but hasn’t removed all drought concerns: Residents are being asked to continue saving water.
The Okinawa Draught Countermeasures Council had scheduled a meeting for this week to discuss low levels in the island’s 10 reservoirs. But heavy rains over the past week, with more expected this weekend, gave islanders a little breathing room, according to an official with the Okinawa General Bureau, a Tokyo government agency that manages seven major reservoirs on the island.
“We postponed the meeting after we had about 130 millimeters (about 5.2 inches) of rain last week,” said Hitoshi Nagumo of the general bureau. “That brought up the average water level at all reservoirs to a little over 60 percent, bringing the water situation back to about the situation we had one month ago.
“So, we decided to see how things go for a while,” he said. “We are naturally relieved.”
On Thursday, the average level of the island’s reservoirs was at 61.3 percent, up from 53 percent earlier in the week, according to the water countermeasures council.
“It is not at a level where we feel comfortable, however,” Nagumo quickly added. “We need to continue to ask all the people on the island for their cooperation to voluntarily conserve water.”
The Okinawa Meteorological Observatory reported Thursday that the significant rainfall last week has reversed the fall’s parched trend.
“The rain last Thursday and Friday was significant,” said Seijun Irei, weather forecaster at the observatory. He said that a total rainfall of just those two days was 3.08 inches in Nago, in Okinawa’s north where most of the reservoirs are located. That brought the accumulated rainfall for the month to 5.48 inches, more than the January average of 4.92 inches of rain for the entire month.
In Okinawa City, in the central part of the island, 5.8 inches of rain fell during the two days, he said.
Irei said precipitation for the coming months is expected to be normal.
“We expect an average rainfall for both February and March, which is about 5 inches for February and 6.4 inches for March,” he said.