Residents urged to save water
Despite some rain this month and more showers expected due to returning tradewinds, Hawaii residents are being advised to conserve water because of dry weather that began in early February, officials said yesterday.
"We are obviously always concerned about conservation and would encourage people to conserve year-round regardless of what weather conditions are like," said Su Shin, spokeswoman for the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, where she said ground-water levels "are doing OK."
On Maui the Upper Kula water system, with a capacity of 130 million gallons, had 40 million gallons yesterday, said Department of Water Supply Director Jeffrey Eng. A 50 million-gallon reservoir In Lower Kula had 40 million gallons, he said.
Maui imposed a 10 percent mandatory water reduction for Upcountry in the summer that lasted until December. A voluntary 10 percent water restriction for Central Maui remains in place.
Earlier this month the Big Island Department of Water Supply also asked customers to voluntarily cut water use by 10 percent. Wells on Kauai have benefited from some rain this month, but residents also should conserve, officials said.
Water gauges on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island recorded below-average rainfall last month, while most gauges on Kauai reported less than half the rainfall they usually get, according to the National Weather Service.
A ridge of high pressure near the islands has created the still, dry conditions, said Kevin Kodama, senior hydrologist at the NWS Honolulu center. Tradewinds should strengthen through tomorrow, "but we are not looking for a whole lot of rain," he said.