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Water starved Aguni gets new desalinization plant

Date Posted: 2003-11-29

Aguni Village on Aguni Island has always had a problem with water. Even water in its wells tends to be a little salty because of the vicinity of the ocean. The perpetual problem has now become alleviated as the village turned its new desalination plan on line on Nov. 20.

In his speech at the plant dedication ceremony, Village Mayor Masao Shinzato said that starting the new plant means the beginning of a new era for the village. “This plant ensures that we don’t have to worry about getting high quality drinking water. It also marks the end of water rationing,” Shinzato said.

The new plant took two years to construct and cost \926.9 million. It does not take water straight from the ocean, but instead utilizes drilled wells from which less salty water is pumped.

The desalinization plant is not the first of its kind in Aguni though. When U.S. forces landed in Aguni at the beginning of the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, they installed a desalinization plant at the same location, and delivered potable water from the plant to local people almost 58 years ago.

The memory of that plant is still in minds of many elderly residents and raises respectful admiration and comments. “Americans were incredible people. I cannot but wonder that they had such machines already then. They are very civilized people indeed,” Fumio Majikina, a 76-year-old fisherman said.

The Village Office admits that their new plant is not perfect. “We have one more bottleneck, and that’s the lack of electric power. That’s why we can run this plant only at night time, but we hope to fix that in the near future,” a village office spokesman said.

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