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Water rationing looms

Date Posted: 2002-03-24

The possibility of water rationing in Okinawa looms for the first time in eight years, prefecture officials say. The main island has had no significant rainfall since January, and that has left the reservoirs with only about 30 percent of their capacity of water. Zamami Village on Kerama Islands was the first municipality to enact water-rationing measures cutting the water supply to eight hours a day to the village’s 600 residents and 200 visiting tourists.

Officials at Kume Island warn at they might be the next as the reservoir there has only 25 percent of its capacity of water left. Island officials have already ordered farmers to close their sprinkler systems. Tokashiki and Izena islands have even less in their dams, and at Iheya Village officials even conducted a special ceremony to pray for rain as their dam has practically dried up. The situation was eased a little bit Friday evening as a thunder storm passed over Okinawa dumping about 40 mm rain in Nago City.

Okinawa Prefecture officials decided at a meeting Friday to stop water supply on Okinawa Main Island from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily from April 1 if the situation does not change. As the rainy season is still about two months away, the water rationing is likely to start unless seasonal thunderstorms provide relief. Officials say that to fill the reservoirs requires at least 600 mm of rain.

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