Be alert, fix that squirt


POSTED: Monday, June 01, 2009

”;When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.”; — Benjamin Franklin

Water is our most precious and valuable resource. Without water, life would no longer exist. Without water, we would not be able to water our plants nor feed our livestock. According to the Honolulu Board of Water Supply (BWS), Oahu consumes up to 154.75 million gallons per day compared with the 206.4 million gallons daily that Oahu is projected to use in 25 years.





        Ways to reduce daily water usage at home:

» Save water from going down the drain when there may be another use for it, such as watering a plant or garden, or cleaning.


» Verify that your home is leak-free.


» Fix dripping faucets.


» Check for toilet tank leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear within 30 minutes.


» Take shorter showers. Replace showerhead with ultra-low-flow one.


» Don't let water run while shaving or washing your face. Brush your teeth first while waiting for water to get hot, then wash or shave after filling the basin.


» Retrofit faucets with aerators with flow restrictors.




On July 1, our water rates for a single-family home will increase from its current rate of $2.46 for each 1,000 gallons used, to $2.66 for each 1,000 gallons used—an 8 percent increase.

The BWS also has scheduled another increase in 2010 at a rate of $2.79 for each 1,000 gallons used—or a 5 percent increase.

We need to look at how we use our water at home and at work to see how we can conserve to protect our most precious and valuable resource, in addition to protecting our pocketbooks.


By the year 2030, the BWS projects that Oahu residents and businesses will increase water consumption by 25 percent. By 2030, the Department of Planning and Permitting projects that Oahu's population will increase to 1,117,302 people compared with 876,156 (2000 census) and will require more drinking water. With this rise in demand, we need to put into practice more conservation efforts to ensure our aquifers will be able to keep up with our demand due to population growth and development. If we don't take steps to continue to conserve water, we put our future generations at risk. Government must manage the way we plan and use our water.


It is imperative that we become part of the solution and manage the way we use water. At work, you can:

» Encourage your employer to promote water conservation.

» Install waterless urinals and motion sensor water faucets.

» Eliminate daytime landscape watering.

» Improve control of cooling tower water for air conditioning units.

Government must implement water-saving measures by using non-drinking water for parks, golf courses, municipal building landscaping and street medians. Also, it must install water-saving toilets and faucets in public bathrooms and beach parks.

The city's General Development Plan identified the largest Oahu growth to be in the Ewa Plains, Primary Urban Center and Central Oahu. When planning for this type of large-scale development, government must provide incentives so homes built will be energy- and water-efficient. All homes must include low-flow showerheads, install all household faucets with low-flow aerators, install very low gallon per flush toilets, and install ENERGY STAR dishwashers and washing machines.

Government needs to offer incentives for developers to create two types of water lines to the home, to allow use of drinking water inside homes and non-drinking to water lawns and plants.

Cities such as Irvine, Calif.; Cocoa Beach, Fla.; Damascus, Ore.; and Paris, France, have implemented dual drinking and non-potable water systems.


Conserving water at home and at work is only the first step of many we will need to take in order to protect our most valuable and precious resource. We need to ensure future development includes water-saving measures. This will reduce our impact and ensure a healthy water supply for future generations.


Donovan Dela Cruz is city councilman for District II (North Shore).