(BIVN) – With an ongoing drought on the island of Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiʻi County Department of Water Supply says it is closely monitoring its 23 public water systems, with a “special focus” placed on the South Kohala Water System.
As the November 2nd U.S. Drought Monitor detailed, most of the Big Island is under a D2 Severe Drought, with a few spots of D3 Extreme Drought along the windward coast of Kaʻū, leeward North and South Kohala, and an area on the northern slope of Maunakea.
On Monday, the Department of Water Supply issued a news release saying it will work to “continue fulfilling its mission to provide customers with an adequate and continuous supply of safe drinking water in a financially responsible manner.”
Water officials said that due to the drought – which is expected to intensify and peak in January/February 2024 – there is a need to use drinking water wisely. The South Kohala Water System is of particular concern because it “primarily uses stream or surface water that is more susceptible to drought conditions than water from underground aquifers”.
From the DWS news release:
If DWS’ pumping capabilities cannot sustain the water needs of all customers and the public served by a respective water system, DWS will have to ask those customers to reduce their water use. Measures could include a request to cut back on irrigation, undertake 10 percent voluntary conservation, or comply with a mandatory 25 percent reduction notice so DWS can maintain an adequate supply of safe drinking water for all customers. Water customers can do their part by fixing common household water leaks, irrigating efficiently, and switching to low-flow toilets.
Earlier this year, National Weather Service Senior Service Hydrologist Kevin Kodama warned that rainfall deficits could impact agriculture and water supply, especially for residents using rainfall catchment systems. “Out of season” fires will also be possible due to the continued presence of dry fuels.