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New policy prohibits watering lawns

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- A new wing water conservation policy now prohibits on-base residents from watering their lawns and washing cars in housing and dormitory areas. 

The new policy applies to all Kadena facilities and military family housing on Okinawa and was created to support an executive order issued by President George W. Bush in January. Executive Order 13423 mandates all federal facilities to lower water consumption by two percent per year starting 2008. 

"It is imperative for all Team Kadena members to renew their commitment to utilities conservation," said Brig. Gen. Brett Williams, 18th Wing commander. "To meet the newly directed standards, we must continue to increase awareness and practice conservation in the workplace, in our homes and during leisure activities as well." 

Water conservation has been a topic of concern for Team Kadena for at least two decades. 

"Kadena instituted water rationing nearly every year beginning in the mid-1980's," said Katie Kirschbaum, 718th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental flight. "Residents were asked not to use water between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. until 1993, when new dams were built in northern Okinawa." 

Kadena receives freshwater from a variety of island sources, Ms. Kirschbaum said. Reservoirs account for 67 percent of the freshwater supply while 17 percent comes from surface water, 3.3 percent from desalinized ocean water and 9.4 percent from ground water wells. 

"It's important to conserve water not only because of Okinawa's limited water resources, but also because it takes energy to pump, clean and heat water for human use," said Kelly Livingston, 718th Civil Engineer Squadron environmental flight environmental engineer. "So by reducing the amount of water we consume daily we're also reducing our energy consumption, thus reducing our energy bills and limiting greenhouse gas emissions." 

Kadena spends about $15,360 monthly and $184,320 annually for water.
The 718th CES environmental flight asks residents to do their part in conserving Kadena's water supply and offers some tips. 

"Watering lawns using an outdoor faucet is now prohibited," said Shingi Kuniyoshi, 718th CES environmental engineer. "Instead, residents may consider using water collected from a dehumidifier. Instead of washing cars at home, take cars to the car wash next to the gas station where water is cleaned and recycled." 

Mr. Kuniyoshi recommends installing a low flow showerhead which could reduce the amount of water used to about 1.5 to 2.5 gallons per minute. He said Energy Star appliances could also help make homes more water efficient. Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The program is designed to help people save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. 

"More water is conserved by running a full load of laundry than from washing partially full loads," Mr. Kuniyoshi said. "Washing with warm water rather than hot, and rinsing with cold water instead of warm can also save water and energy." 

For more information on water conservation, call the 718th CES environmental flight at 634-2600. 

For more information on the Energy Star program, visit the Web site at www.energystar.gov.