Residents asked to conserve water
The state Commission on Water Resource Management yesterday asked Hawai'i residents and businesses to take steps to conserve water because of drought conditions.
"By conserving water, we may be able to avoid mandatory water restrictions that could be imposed by the county water departments or private water utilities as we move into the drier months of the year," Ken Kawahara, the commission's deputy director, said in a news release. "Use all the water you need, but please don't waste it."
The commission also said people should be aware that the dry conditions increase the risk of wildfires.
The current El Niņo phenomenon created abnormally dry winter season conditions throughout the state and it is expected that dry conditions will continue through the spring, Kawahara said.
The U.S. Drought Monitor shows that Hawai'i is under drought conditions ranging from D0 (abnormally dry) to an unprecedented D4 (drought-exceptional), some of the worst conditions in the country.
Agricultural producers are feeling the impacts of drastically reduced rainfall, and some residents who normally rely on rainwater catchment are hauling water.
Gov. Linda Lingle last month sent letters to state agencies to lead by example in encouraging water conservation measures.
About half of the water used by consumers is attributed to outdoor uses, including irrigation. Residents and businesses can help to save water by irrigating lawns between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. to minimize evaporation, and by repairing leaks or broken sprinkler heads.
The Hawai'i Drought Monitor website is http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/drought/preparedness.htm#waterconservation.