‘Water waste’ complaints quadruple as calls for conservation continue

The number of “water waste” complaints coming into the Board of Water Supply have quadrupled over the last month.
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 4:12 PM HST|Updated: May. 16, 2022 at 4:24 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The number of “water waste” complaints coming into the Board of Water Supply have quadrupled since the agency called for the public to reduce consumption by 10%.

Since the initial call went out March 9, after three well were shut down amid the Navy’s water contamination crisis, BWS officials say their phones have been ringing off the hook with residents reporting so-called water wasters.

Meanwhile, the utility said it has seen a decrease in water usage over the past month. But it’s still not enough to ward off potential water restrictions.

Related Content: Shorter showers, drier lawns: Here’s what reducing your water use by 10% looks like

“We need to do better,” said Ernie Lau, Board of Water Supply chief engineer.

He’s asking everyone on Oahu to make a conscious effort to cut back.

Officials say they are monitoring the island’s 600 top water users. They’ve also started cracking down on those who are blatantly wasting.

BWS scrambles to get wells online in hopes of avoiding mandatory restrictions

“We try to be that proactive. Go after them,” said BWS spokesperson Kathleen Elliott-Pahinui.

She says many of the calls coming in are about schools or parks.

“We just got another email today about golf courses,” said Elliott-Pahinui.

But officials say most are doing their part.

“We have about 10 golf courses that are recycled water out in the Ewa plain so those are great. They’re not using potable water,” Elliott-Pahinui said.

“There are a number of golf courses that have their own wells. They’re not under our jurisdiction.

The agency’s also been working closely working with the city. Since mid-April, the city Department of Parks and Recreation says it’s cut back its water usage a little more than 10%.

“Our irrigation is definitely one of our higher uses of water,” said Nathan Serota, parks spokesperson.

All together, the city is responsible for about 5,000 acres of land.

“A lot of it’s trying to cut back time. The amount of time that irrigation is happening,” Serota said. “Trying to do it during twilight hours where there’s more time for the water to absorb.”

Many decorative fountains are now off most of the day.

Work is also underway to upgrade the plumbing at a couple dozen parks. “Installing low flow fixtures in our bathrooms is part of our renovations at our Kakou for Parks program,” Serota said.

Meanwhile, the Board of Water Supply is encouraging the public to give them a call anytime they see water being wasted.

“If you have to call us six or seven times because someone is not getting the message you keep calling us. And we’ll keep after them until they get the message,” said Elliott-Pahinui.

To report a water waste complaint, call the BWS at 748-5041.

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