Sasebo city officials lifted a five-month water restriction Wednesday, saying the city’s reservoirs had reached 80 percent capacity, according to a city water official.

The decision affects most residents throughout the city, on Sasebo Naval Base and at the Navy’s Hario housing area, city and Navy officials said Wednesday.

Residents in Kosaza, in the western part of Sasebo, are still being asked to conserve water, according to Tatsuhiko Karato, an official from Sasebo’s waterworks bureau.

The restriction, which began in November, shut down car washes and other nonessential water uses on the Navy bases. That stoppage dropped water use on Sasebo Naval Base by 43 percent from October to December, Navy spokesman Chuck Howard said.

Karato said the cooperation the city received from the residents, including at the Navy bases, helped to overcome the water shortage. The reservoirs reached their lowest point at 53.5 percent capacity on Dec. 21, he said.

Rain also helped replenish the reservoirs. Rainfall was above average in December and at average rates in January and March, Karato said.

To lessen city water usage, officials reduced water pressure at about 100,000 homes. Increasing the water pressure at each home will take about a week, he said.

As long as the city has a normal rainy season in June and July, the water supply should be stable for a while, Karato said.

“Residents can use the water as usual,” Karato said, but he asked people to keep watching the reservoir level. “As long as the level is above 80 percent, we are fine,” he said.

Kosaza residents will have to wait longer, Karato said. There, city officials are waiting for that reservoir to rise from the current 36 percent capacity to 50 percent capacity before lifting the restriction.

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Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.

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