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Water woes disappear as rains fill reservoirs

Date Posted: 2004-06-17

Heavy rains triggered by Typhon Conson have lifted the water restrictions facing Okinawa.

Nearly 1 1/2 feet of rain fell in a week’s time, bringing Okinawa reservoirs to 87.7% of capacity, and leading drought control officials to declare the water crisis over, at least for now. Several of the primary Okinawa island’s reservoirs were filled, and actually overflowing.

Zamami Village had been under water rationing controls for 325 days, and the relief was joyous to residents. The nighttime rationing restrictions were lifted. Only once before, in 1981, had restrictions lasted longer. That year, the rationing was in effect 326 days.

The village reservoir is at 81% capacity, and people say “we’re going to get a lot of tourists during the summer season from July to August, since we don’t have water rationing.”

They say “tourists are coming more and more, and they all are happy. It was a problem for them to shower and wash clothes, and now they can have showers at night”.

Cottage owner Yukimasa Miyazato,66, says “it was so hard for me to bring up water at night. I kept water during daylight hours using buckets, but the tourists used those buckets of water. I couldn’t give water to my gardening flowers, and now I can. The flowers are happy too.”

Residents are still worried though, and Village leaders are warning people “we still have to use water very carefully, and not use too much. We must always remember the importance of water.” Zamami Village Mayor Mitsuo Nakamura says “It hurt to see people come to the dam and see it so dry. The bottom was red.”

The Mayor says “again we are planning to have water rationing if the dam goes under 50%.” He says they’ll approach renewed rationing, should it be necessary, with nighttime restrictions.

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