Sasebo asks for help with drought
November 3, 2007
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Sasebo city is asking the U.S. Navy for help as an impending drought threatens public water supplies.
A lack of rainfall over the past two months has caused reservoir levels to drop, and the current water supplies might last just 50 days, according to the city water utility office.
On Monday, the city and Sasebo Naval Base will convene a drought management council to discuss rainfall predictions and measures to avoid rationing water.
“The City will ask the CFAS (Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo) to conserve the water usage and will show the water rationing plan at the meeting,” Tadahito Tokunaga of the naval base public works department wrote in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.
The city hopes voluntary conservation efforts from the Navy base and other large water consumers will be enough to stave off a shortage, waterworks bureau official Sadayoshi Emoto said.
“We are in a tough situation,” Emoto said. “We hope to discuss measures in a way so that we don’t have to ration water.”
The base will work with the city to manage the depleting water supply, base spokesman Charles Howard said.
“Fleet Activities Sasebo considers itself members of the Sasebo community and, like the city, responsible and responsive stewards of our environment,” he said.
As of Thursday, the city’s water supply had dropped to 67.5 percent of its total capacity, the city waterworks bureau reported.
The water supply, fed by rivers and stored in six reservoirs, could supply the city’s needs for roughly 50 days, Emoto said.
Chances of rain are forecast over the coming week, but the city does not expect enough to replenish the water supply, he said.
Sasebo city is debating a dam project in a rural valley to the south that could increase water supplies, but the proposed project has drawn opposition from some in the area.
Meanwhile, the city also is asking residents to cut excessive water use, such as allowing a tap to flow while brushing teeth, Emoto said.
“It is no problem to use water when necessary, but we request that people stop the use of excessive water,” he said.