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Make every drop count

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It’s almost mid-July, which invariably means dry conditions in Hawaii. Sunny and warm means happiness for isle visitors, but local residents who glance up at the blue skies have come to expect warnings about conservation at some point.

So far, say the folks at the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, levels in Oahu’s aquifer system are maintaining well enough to forestall the announcement of any use restrictions for residential consumers, even voluntary curbs.

Emphasis on the words "so far." Conservation is a wise course of action even now, given that the message from the National Weather Service is not encouraging to anyone hoping for drought relief from nature.

The best that can be said about even the least-afflicted parts of the state is that they are "abnormally dry," according to the weather service’s Hawaii Drought Monitors.

The urban core and southeastern corner of Oahu fall into the same moderate -to-severe drought conditions as large swaths of several neighbor islands. And for farmers who use the Waimanalo Irrigation System, this has translated into a mandatory cut in usage.

Oahu residential customers are more fortunate, drawing on a robust water system that is less vulnerable to drought than those on other islands. Still, if they want to make sure they get through the summer without tempting the fates, now is the time to run through a checklist of water-saving tips:

» Watering lawns two or three times a week is enough. Giving the lawn a good watering just once every three days – avoiding the 9 a.m.-5 p.m. hours when the heat will evaporate it too quickly – helps grass develop deeper roots, making it more water-efficient.

» Run a leak test: Turn off water throughout your house, check your water meter, and check back two hours later. If it has moved, something’s leaking.

» Install water-efficient plumbing fixtures. It really helps. A new shower head, for example, can save up to five gallons every minute.

» Put a nozzle on your garden hose. Left unattended for even a few minutes, a running garden hose can waste more than 100 gallons.

The water board’s standing advisory is to use what is needed but to be aware of the boundary between use and waste. That’s good advice. Most people use water without thinking. And where this precious resource is concerned, thoughtlessness has consequences that really do harm your neighbors.

 

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