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For Immediate Release
March 10, 2022


Wells are used to make up for Halawa Shaft supply deficit

HONOLULU –  Rising levels of chloride in Board of Water Supply (BWS) Beretania Wells resulting from additional pumping to help make up the loss of supply from Halawa Shaft, which was shut down last year in response to fuel contamination of the Navy’s Red Hill source -- coupled with less than normal rainfall – has led the BWS to ask island residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their water use by 10 percent now to prepare for the summer season.

Chloride levels indicate the health of island water sources; rising levels signify stress on the source.  Reduced rainfall prevents adequate recharge of Oahu aquifers.  Even if the weather brings more rain later this year, the island’s sources need time to rebuild storage capacity. 

“We need to reduce overall island demand to protect our groundwater resources from depleting,” said BWS Manager and Chief Engineer Ernest Lau. “This is necessary to ensure that Oahu’s drinking water supply remains healthy and sustainable over the long term. When we shut down our Halawa Shaft due to the Navy’s Red Hill crisis, we knew that having to ask for voluntary conservation was a possibility.  We had hoped we could avoid this.  Unfortunately, we are in a difficult situation not of our own making.”

Oahu consumers are urged to be mindful of their water use in their daily activities by adopting practices that avoid water waste, such as those posted online in the BWS’s Seven Easy Ways to Save Water at  Here are three out of the seven tips:

  • Water your lawn and garden before 9 AM or after 5 PM.
  • Take shorter showers.
  • Don’t let the faucet run and run.

“Every conservation effort makes a difference,” Lau said. “If we each save a little water, together we’ll save a lot.  If everyone cuts back their usage by 10 percent now, we may not have to resort to progressively restrictive mandatory conservation later in the year.”

Meanwhile, the BWS is working to ensure that its own water system and fixtures are as water-tight as possible. It has also reached out to its large-water-using customers, in both the public and private sectors, to ask for their support in being as water efficient in their operations as possible and avoid water waste.

The public can call the BWS’s water waste hotline at 748-5041 or email to report misuse of water. Please provide details such as how water is being wasted, location, time of day and, if possible, contact information.

“We thank the community for their cooperation in the past and humbly ask for their continued support to lower water demand during this time,” Lau said.

About the Board of Water Supply

The Board of Water Supply (BWS), a semi-autonomous agency of the City and County of Honolulu, manages Oahu’s municipal water resources and distribution system.  As the largest water utility in the State, the BWS serves approximately one million customers on Oahu.  The BWS embraces its mission of “Water for Life – Ka Wai Ola” – to provide a safe, dependable, and affordable water supply, now and into the future.  Uwē  ka lani, ola ka honua – “When the heavens weep, the earth lives.”  For more information, visit, follow @BWSHonolulu or like the BWS’s Facebook page at



Kathleen Elliott-Pahinui
Information Officer
Honolulu Board of Water Supply
Phone: (808) 748-5319