HONOLULU (KHON2) — There is some level of drought on every island, according to the National Weather Service, which said leeward portions of Hawaii are driest.
Oahu is still under a voluntary request to reduce water use, so how much will a rainy Easter weekend help?
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Puddles of water could be seen in Downtown Honolulu on Saturday, April 16 even though sunshine did make an appearance. Leeward portions of Hawaii are struggling with an unusually dry wet season, however.
NWS officials said those in leeward areas could be in for a rough summer.
“So since January 1st, less than half of normal rainfall has been occurring in the leeward areas,” said NWS meteorologist Derek Wroe. “That’s going to lead to problems such as crop and pasture damage for the agriculture community.”
Wroe said increased fire risk and water shortages in some communities are also possible due to the drought. The latest Monitor Map shows moderate to severe conditions over most leeward portions of all islands, with severe drought over Hamakua and Kohala on the Big island.
A voluntary conservation request on Maui was lifted on Friday, April 8 for the west side, but Oahu’s Board of Water Supply is still keeping their reduction request at 10% — water usage went up slightly during the week of Monday, April 11.
“We really don’t want to have to go to mandatory conservation this summer, but we’re not going to have any choice if we can’t get that 10% reduction in the next couple of months,” said BWS information officer Kathleen Elliott-Pahinui.
The BWS said those with decorative water fixtures — like fountains — should turn them off; Even recycled water is lost from evaporation. Elliott-Pahinui also had advice for those who enjoy long showers.
“Try to get down to about a five minute shower if you can,” Elliott-Pahinui said.
While the Easter weekend rain is good, the NWS said it will take a lot more to get Hawaii in better shape.
“I wish I could say this is going to be a big help,” Wroe said, “but I don’t really think it will be. Every little bit helps, but just one event won’t be enough to put a substantial dent in a drought for the leeward areas.”
So, keep those conservation efforts up.
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“Especially as we get towards, you know, end of July, August, September, so if we do it now and instill those habits now it’ll be easier as the summer comes,” Elliott-Pahinui said.