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Big Islanders asked to conserve water ahead of storm’s arrival

August 7, 2014 - 2:22pm

The Hawaii County Department of Water Supply is advising all customers to conserve water when Hurricane Iselle hits Hawaii County because of high winds and/or flooding that could disrupt power supply to water sources.

Customers should store drinking water now for use during the storm in the event water service is shut off, according to the department.

Water and wastewater systems may be compromised if electricity cannot be supplied to power the pumps and motors in the distribution and transmission systems. In the event of a power outage, the Department of Water Supply may shut off valves and isolate tanks to reduce risk of damage and water loss. If this occurs, water will be restored as soon as it is safe for personnel to go out and open lines and flush if necessary.

All irrigation systems and other nonessential uses of water should be shut off until further notice. Unnecessary use of the wastewater system should also be minimized.

Customers should listen for county Civil Defense updates and are requested to call the 24-hour service line (961-8790) only if a water problem occurs.

The Department of Water Supply (DWS) urges residents to have their emergency preparedness kits ready. The kit should include at least one gallon of water stored, per person, per day for at least five to seven days, for drinking and sanitation purposes.

How to Store Water

To properly store water, you should:

· Use clean containers. Do not use containers that stored food with strong odors (mayonnaise, pickles, etc.) as the water will pick up the odor during storage.

· Disinfect containers. Wash containers thoroughly, then rinse it in a mild bleach solution (one capful of liquid bleach to one gallon of water), and then rinse thoroughly.

· Fill container with water from the tap. Fill the container to the top, keeping a minimal amount of air between the water and the cap. Store it in a cool, dark place.

· Optional – boiling or bleach disinfection. If you prefer, you can boil water before storing it. You should boil the water for at least three minutes, let it cool down until it is slightly warm, fill the containers, and then seal and store immediately. Liquid bleach may also be used to disinfect water that has not been boiled. Add one drop of bleach per gallon of water and seal and store immediately.

The DWS is also asking customers to stay tuned to news reports.

What to Do in a Storm

If a hurricane hits Hawaii Island, causing a power outage, the following should be implemented:

Stay tuned to news reports.

During an electrical power outage keep water use to an absolute minimum. If electrical service has been disrupted, the outage will also affect DWS’s pumps and equipment.

Immediately begin water conservation measures. Use water sparingly. Water should be used for essentials: cooking, drinking and sanitation. Do not wash cars or water lawns.

Turn off or disconnect any devices or fixtures that regularly draw water. Such devices include automatic icemakers and irrigation systems.

Keep toilet flushing to a minimum.

More emergency preparedness information is available at The DWS is actively monitoring Hurricane Iselle and is coordinating our emergency response plan with Hawaii County Civil Defense.

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