State of Emergency For Hawaii Island - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State of Emergency For Hawaii Island

Cindy Sellers Cindy Sellers
Charles Huston Charles Huston
Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim
Troy Kindred Troy Kindred

by: Paul Drewes

(KHNL) - Water use is restricted for some, now that a state of emergency has been declared for the island of Hawaii.

And there are fears, this dry spell could spell big trouble for the Big Island.

Instead of replenishing showers this winter, Hawaii Island got less than half the rainfall it normally receives.

And with hot and dry days ahead, many are worried about the impact on the island this drought will have.

For the third time in two weeks Cindy Sellers welcomes the water wagon to her Hawaiian Paradise Park home.

"When we run of water, it shuts down our personal life, and our work. Its important we have water."

This section of the island relies on water catchment systems, but there just hasn't been enough showers to keep them filled.

Water haulers have been working overtime to help provide this precious resource.

"Now we have 10-12 guys hauling water continuously" says Charles Huston, one of the water hauling operators.

But even that's not enough to handle the demand by this drought.

"They're desperately in need of water" adds Huston.

The county has also put up over a dozen emergency water spigots so people won't be left high and dry.

But for the Waimea area, reservoirs and ditches damaged from last October's quake means there is only an 18 day supply of water for residents. And as water levels drops, frustration and anger could rise.

"Its an extreme hardship, this drought, and we can expect tempers are going to flare" says Hawaii Island Mayor, Harry Kim.

As the island turns brown, there's also fears this drought could create dangerous conditions this fire season.

"Conditions are dry and worsening, not only are we concerned about a lack of water, we're also concerned about runaway brushfires." says Troy Kindred, with Hawaii County Civil Defense.

And in fact, three fire were reported during the first day of the emergency drought declaration.

Part of Hawaii Island is now under a mandatory 25 percent water reduction while other residents of the Big Island are being asked to reduce water use voluntarily by 10 percent.

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