HONOLULU (KHON2) — The State is asking folks to imagine a day without water.
Gov. David Ige signed a proclamation to raise awareness for the value of water infrastructure on Thursday, Oct. 20.
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The proclamation comes while the Navy is still advising residents near Pearl Harbor to boil their drinking water.
“So, imagine if there was a day when the pumps stop operating, the wells stop producing water and the pipes ran dry,” said Ernie Lau, Board of Water Supply chief engineer.
Lau said imagining a day without water could not come at a better time after Red Hill and the boil advisory. He is pleased the 36-inch main break has been fixed but said it is just a start.
“But I would ask them to consider what they need to do to protect the water that is contained in those pipes going back to the source,” Lau said.
There is not much imagining going on for affected residents. Manana Military Housing resident Krista Frank is still getting used to new habits.
“Sometimes you forget and you know, one day you’re filling up water at the fridge going, ‘Oh wait a second, I can’t do this because I don’t know what’s there,” Frank said.
The Department of Health said the main break in Waiau postponed defueling Red Hill since crews could not work safely or expeditiously.
“So, this water main break caused the pressure in the pipelines to be lessened,” said DOH Environmental Health deputy director Kathleen Ho. “I believe that they’re going to be able to do it now that the lines have been repaired.”
Gov. Ige said he has been in talks with the Secretary of Defense but sacrificing well-being for speed is not on the table.
“They are committed to defueling it as quickly as possible, as long as they can do it safely,” Gov. Ige said. “We will not sacrifice protection of the aquifer just to do it sooner rather than later.”
Lau had a final message to military officials.
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“I would bring it down to a four-letter word,” Lau said, “do things that will provide hope to these poor people that are suffering under these conditions.”