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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Base officials continue to encourage water conservation in response to a city water-supply shortage caused by less than normal rainfall this year.

At about 110,000 homes in town, the city will begin restricting water pressure to one-third to one-fourth of normal flow starting Saturday, a Sasebo City Water Bureau spokesman said Tuesday.

Approximately half the base’s personnel and their dependents live off base. The water restrictions will apply to them in the same manner as it will to their neighbors.

The city supplies water for the base.

“The restrictions do not apply to critical facilities such as the military base and hospitals,” said Sasebo Assistant Public Works Officer Lt. j.g. Brian L. Foster. “But we are continuing to encourage community awareness of the water shortage, as well as individual efforts to conserve water.”

For instance, departments on base have stopped washing vehicles and watering lawns, he said.

“Community awareness is a key as well as using good sense individually. When thinking about conserving water, making a choice between using water to cook or to wash your car should be pretty obvious,” Foster said. “It just takes a few seconds to stop and think about it.”

The lack of rain in 2005, estimated by base weather forecasters as 11 inches less than average through the end of May, has left the city water supply at 64.3 percent of normal levels.

The normal water levels in city reservoirs gives a 70-day supply. However, water bureau spokesman Tetsumi Yumura said, the current levels would last only about 30 days without replenishment.

“We are in the rainy season in Japan that lasts through the end of July, plus or minus seven days. The average rainfall for June is 13.55 inches but we’ve had less than 1 inch this year,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jim Salzwedel, a forecaster with Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography, Sasebo Detachment. To date, June rainfall has been 0.79 inches.

“There is simply no way to predict very far into the future,” he said, “but indications are that we could get rainfalls starting about Monday or Tuesday.”

If the drought continues, causing the water supply to fall below 50 percent of normal levels, Yumura said, the city would implement stricter water pressure limits.

The city will have to cut off water at certain times each day if the supply drops below 40 percent of normal, Yumura said. The base and other critical facilities would not be restricted.

The city last restricted water use from Aug. 1, 1994, through April 25, 1995. The city restricted use in various ways and, at the worst point in the drought, cut off water on two days for five hours each day.

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