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Honolulu Board of Water Supply says water conservation situation is still dire

Ernest Ernie Lau Honolulu Board of Water Supply 120321
Jason Ubay
Board of Water Supply Manager and Chief Engineer Ernest "Ernie" Lau at a press conference about the contaminated Navy water system on Dec. 3, 2021.

The head of the Board of Water Supply says a relatively dry rainy season has increased the need for water conservation on Oʻahu.

The board urged residents to reduce water consumption by 10% in March, after jet fuel from the Navy’s Red Hill storage facility forced the closure of three BWS wells.

Since then, very little rain has fallen, and the state is entering the dry season.

Board of Water Supply Manager and Chief Engineer Ernie Lau says people have been getting the message about conserving, but the lack of rain means the situation is still dire.

"We initially saw a slight decrease but I think the lack of rainfall has kind of masked the peoples’ efforts to save water so we still see water demand increasing. Across the island, it’s higher than it was at the same time last year and higher than the five-year monthly average," Lau told HPR.

Earlier this month Lau told lawmakers and developers that new building projects may be disrupted because they can’t guarantee enough water to accommodate them.

Lau says he wants to work with developers on innovative ways to lessen the water requirements of these projects.

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply has launched a series of public service announcements to urge residents to conserve water. This interview aired on The Conversation on April 20, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Scott Kim is a news editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact him at
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