93,000 Aomori homes waterless

AOMORI (Kyodo) About 240,000 people in some 93,000 households in the city of Hachinohe and six other municipalities in Aomori Prefecture have gone without water since Thursday evening because of a duct problem.

Aomori Gov. Shingo Mimura requested a disaster relief dispatch of Ground Self-Defense Force troops. The GSDF quickly sent about 30 water trucks and plans to keep supplies coming until the water is restored.

The Hachinohe Regional Water Supply Authority said it has set up a bypass duct and hopes to resume water supply Saturday night. It had hoped to restore the flow around noon.

The halt in water supply has affected daily life over the New Year holiday at about 60 percent of all households in Hachinohe and the towns of Sannohe, Sanbu, Hashikami, Oirase, Rokunohe and Gonohe.

People carrying plastic bottles and tanks lined up at temporary water feeder locations.

“What’s troubling us is the toilet. We are flushing it with water kept in the bathtub, but since we want to reduce the frequency (of flushing), we are going to a supermarket in the city of Misawa where the water is running,” said Yuichi Abe, 38, a company employee who came with his two children to an elementary school in Oirase for water.

Because fire hydrants are dry, the Hachinohe Fire Department is calling on citizens to be extra careful about fires.

According to waterworks authorities, a joint in a duct around 8 meters underground was damaged for some reason and the duct bringing water from a river to the waterworks has been ruptured.

Installed in 1990, such ducts typically have a life span of 40 to 60 years.