Sasebo announces water restrictions
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Sasebo residents will be without water for 28 hours at a stretch when the city begins rationing its supply Dec. 15, the city water utility announced this week.
Conservation efforts in recent weeks have not done enough to stave off drought conditions in Sasebo city, officials said. On Wednesday, the water supply dipped to a seasonal low of 56 percent of capacity.
The U.S. Navy cut water pressure to areas of its base Wednesday, and car washes have been put on hold to save dwindling public water supplies.
The base announced no plan to ration water by press time. So far, only those living off base will be affected by the water outages.
The base will do all it can to save water as long as conservation measures do not hinder the Navy’s mission in Sasebo, base commander Capt. Tilghman Payne said during a radio appearance Tuesday.
Any plans to begin rationing water will be announced as soon as possible, according to an e-mail advisory by Lt. Cmdr. David Kang, the base public works officer.
The city’s planned water rationing will affect about 100,000 households in the area, said Sadayoshi Emoto, the city’s water resource measurement official.
“If no good amount of rain falls, water rationing will take place from the 15th,” Emoto said.
Sasebo neighborhoods will be divided into two areas based on the reservoirs they rely upon, and water will be supplied in periods of 20 hours on and 28 hours off, Emoto said.
Residents will be notified of their water schedule, but the city has yet to work out the notification details, he said.
Notices will be given in English as well as Japanese.
Emoto said after each 28-hour water outage, residents will need to run water before using it.
Rationing will stop for the New Year holiday from Dec. 29 to Jan. 3. During that time, water pressure will be decreased, Emoto said. Rationing will resume on Jan. 4 and will last until rainfall replenishes Sasebo’s six reservoirs, he said.
Sasebo Naval Base, hospitals, schools and food-processing factories will be excluded from rationing, Emoto said. That could change if the drought conditions continue, he said.
Sasebo, plagued by a lack of water for decades, last rationed water in 1995. The city is debating a dam project in the rural Ishike valley to the south that could increase water supplies, but the proposal has drawn opposition from some in the area.