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Typhoon misses Okinawa, water rationing to begin

Date Posted: 2002-06-13

The Okinawa Prefecture Water Shortage Committee consisting of officials from Okinawa Meteorological Bureau and Okinawa General Bureau has decided to start water-rationing measures from the beginning of July. According to the committeefs decision, water supply to Okinawa main island will be restricted by eight hours a day during night hours. This marks the first time in eight years that the committee has decided to enact water rationing measures on the island.

The committee was prompted to make its decision when it became apparent that Typhoon Noguri, the first to approach Okinawa this season, politely skirted the island and provided very little rain for the islandfs reservoirs. According to officials, the prefecturefs reservoirs currently stand at on 52% of their capacity.

Usually the rainy season provides enough water to sustain the prefecture through the summer with passing typhoons giving important boosts to the water supply. However, precipitation during this year the rainy season has been a disappointment standing at only 70 percent of the average. To add to officialsf worries, Okinawa Metrological Bureau predicts that there will be no significant rain over the next several weeks as the rainy season officially draws to the end. The only possible source of any significant rainfall would be a typhoon passing over the island.

The looming water rationing comes at bad time for Okinawafs tourism and leisure industry as it struggles to climb out of almost a yearlong severe slump. The tourism industry is banking on serving a record number of visitors during the peak season from Jul. 20 through Aug. 30, but severe water rationing during the same period would definitely put a dent on their plans.

Local school were the first ones to start taking extra steps to conserve water by closing their swimming pools. Prefectural offices are switching to paper coffee cups in order to avoid dishwashing and prefecture officials are reportedly preparing for TV and other commercials advising citizens how to avoid wasting water.

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