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Zamami residents now living with drought water restrictions

Date Posted: 2005-10-22

In June there was too much rain, and the Zamami Village dam overflowed.

Today the reservoir is at 35% capacity, and residents are under water supply restrictions. The new rules went into effect Monday, because the dam and its water supply are the only water the village has.

The new restrictions will see the village water supply turned off daily 8pm to 8am. The 12-hour cutback is expected to preserve the water, but officials also encourage a wide range of economy measures including reducing shower lengths, using less water for cooking and other activities, and less frequent toilet flushes.

Zamami is becoming a popular tourist destination thanks to internet promotion, and the village is attracting immigrants as well as tourists. City officials say 80% of the couples on Zamami on the island, then stayed to get involved with the tourism industry, including restaurants, guest houses, rental shops and beaches work.

The boom is wonderful for mainland Japan girls moving to Zamami, but it’s putting a squeeze on the water supply. Newcomers call it ‘shocking’ that the problem exists, but longtime residents know it’s a cyclic problem. This year the Village office is going to bring water to the island from Naha City by ferry.

The groundwater supply is too salty, and cannot be used. The only water available is that coming from rain, and stored in the local reservoir. A nearly typhoon-free summer has kept the seasonal storms from dumping the precious fluids into the reservoir.

One local official suggested that visitors bring their own drinking water with them until restrictions ease. No word on when that will be, because no rain is in the forecast.

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