HONOLULU (KHON2) — It has almost been three weeks since the Honolulu Board of Water Supply asked customers to cut their water use by 10%.
Water usage went down during the week of Sunday, March 20 but not by the 10% goal.
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The BWS has concerns over Oahu’s water supply with three water wells shut down due to Red Hill and the dry season approaching. The 10% reduction request is still active, but what happens if that request turns into a mandate?
Kathleen Pahinui with the BWS said a water mandate would mean those who willfully use too much water would see an exponential increase in their bill.
The BWS said water usage in metro Honolulu actually went down between March 20 and March 26 by 1.3 million gallons. Halawa/Aiea saw a 200,000-gallon drop in that same timeframe, both figures come out to about a 2% reduction on Oahu.
“But you know something? 10% is the goal and if we got there, that would be awesome,” Pahinui said. “But any, any movement towards 10% is positive, any movement at all.”
Hawaii’s wet season is coming to a close and it has been unusually dry. The National Weather Services said drought conditions will not resolve overnight.
“We may have a rain event or two in the next month or so, but in terms of what we’re looking most likely at in terms of big rain events and multiple rain events that can really pull us out of, out of the drought conditions, it’s really not looking that good.”Kevin Kodama, National Weather Service hydrologist
It is not just Oahu — Maui County and the Big Island are dealing with water issues as well. West Maui is under a similar voluntary request as Oahu.
“Actually the east half of the state is worse off than us, you know, the Maui County and the Big Island, especially the Leeward areas,” Kodama said. “For the ag sector, for the pastures, they’re hurting right now. They haven’t had much rain.”
The Honolulu BWS said they will start a TV and radio campaign in April to educate the public about continuing to conserve, along with including notification fliers in everyone’s water bill.
Pahinui had some final thoughts for customers if they think paying 20 times their water bill could drown their savings.
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“We really want to try for that 10%, because that will really ensure that we have enough water through summer,” Pahinui said.