waiwai e-newsletter
Tuesday, March 22, 2022 | Issue 03

Reduce Your Water Use by 10%

The Board of Water Supply recently urged all Oahu residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their water use by 10% to conserve water. That’s because over the past four months, the amount of water available has dropped for those in Hālawa industrial park to Hekaha Street and all of metropolitan Honolulu as a result of the Red Hill water contamination issue.

Demand for water has remained the same and is projected to increase in the coming months. Ernie Lau, Manager and Chief Engineer of the Board of Water Supply, said he would like to balance supply and demand so that there will not be a water shortage. If everyone does their part to reduce their water use, this will prevent the need to conserve an even higher percentage of water or the need for more stringent mandatory conservation measures.

did you know

Did You Know...

Oahu currently uses about 130 million gallons of water a day and in peak periods, when there is less rainfall, especially during the summer months, the amount of water used jumps to about 150 million gallons a day.

2021 rainfall intake

Protecting Oahu's Aquifers Requires Fast Thinking!

After the Red Hill Shaft water contamination was discovered in late November 2021, the Board of Water Supply team immediately stopped its water pumping operations at the Hālawa shaft to prevent the military’s contaminated water from contaminating more water sources, including the aquifer less than a mile below Red Hill.

In early December 2021, ‘Aiea well and Hālawa well were immediately shut down because of contamination. These wells supply about half of the potable drinking water to the area stretching from Hālawa industrial park to Hekaha Street.

To make up for the reduced water supply, pumps in other areas of the BWS system have to work harder. This is placing undue strain on the water system because of over-pumping. Reducing our water use will help!  

schematic chart showing oahu's water resources

Uwē Ka Lani, Ola Ka Honua When the Heavens Weep, the Earth Lives

Water is life. We get our water from rain. Unfortunately, since December 2021, the average rainfall on Oahu has been lower than in the past. This is increasing water use and putting additional stress on our water system. As the summer approaches, a time of the year that is drier and water use increases, water conservation will become even critical. Use only what you need!

raindrops falling on paved surface with green grass in the background rainfall istock

Defueling and Decommissioning Red Hill Fuel Storage Tanks

The U.S. Secretary of Defense recently announced the Navy will empty the fuel from the Red Hill storage tanks and permanently close the facility. That’s good news, but that process could possibly take a year or longer. There are already signs of fuel contamination in the aquifer. In the meantime, the BWS team will continue to diligently monitor the water system and conduct ongoing water quality tests.

red hill fuel tanks

World Water Day – March 22

This year, World Water Day is on Tuesday, March 22. It’s an annual United Nations observance that started in 1993 to draw attention to the global water crisis. There are two billion people in the world that are living without safe drinking water or sanitation.

world water dayThis year’s theme is centered around groundwater – making the invisible visible. It is especially top of mind because of the contamination of the Navy’s water system. Many of us take clean water for granted and we often don’t think about the source of that water. In Hawai‘i, groundwater is literally under our feet. It is invisible because we may not see it, but it gives us life and sustains us. World Water Day reminds us that we all have to work together to make sustaining this precious resource a priority. Aquifers may be out of sight, but we have to make them top of mind.

Enter the World Water Day shuffle puzzle contest and you could win valuable prizes such as a 35-gallon rain barrel from the Board of Water Supply and the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Environmental Services. Go to www.boardofwatersupply.com/worldwaterday and take the challenge. Make sure to post your best score in the comment section on the World Water Day post on the BWS’s Instagram page (@BWSHonolulu).

WaterWisdom Wednesday

A healthy watershed is vital to replenish our groundwater supply. That is why the protection and management of watersheds is a high priority for the Board of Water Supply, now more than ever.

Healthy watersheds are forested areas with multiple layers of diverse plants. Without healthy watersheds, we not only lose precious freshwater that replenish our freshwater supply, but also fertile topsoil, and this could impact animals in streams and oceans. Everything is connected.

Watch Amy Tsuneyoshi, Watershed Management Specialist with the Board of Water Supply, who recently shared her insights on a recent WaterWisdom Wednesday. To view this segment, click on https://www.hinowdaily.com/partners/board-water/.

Every Wednesday morning on Sunrise (KGMB and K5), you can learn more about what the Board of Water Supply is doing to protect Oahu’s water supply and what you can do to conserve water.

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Posted: 03/22/2022