HONOLULU — The Board of Water Supply reminds all restaurants to serve water only upon request in keeping with a BWS rule that prohibits automatic water service to customers that has been in effect since Jan. 1, 1992.
Section 2-209(5) of the BWS Rules and Regulations restricts the serving of drinking water to customers “unless expressly requested at any restaurant, hotel, café, cafeteria, or other place where food is sold, served, or offered for sale.” Failing to comply could include a $50 fine for each violation or discontinuation of water service and/or other penalties, as stated in the rule.
“We want to remind Oahu restaurants to serve water only upon request, and to help further everyone’s efforts to preserve and protect our precious water resources,” said BWS Manager and Chief Engineer Ernest Lau, in a news release. “An eight-ounce glass of water requires an additional 16 ounces of water to wash and rinse the glass, and often the glass is left untouched.”
Since March of this year, BWS has had an ongoing request for Oahu water users to voluntarily reduce usage by 10%. At the time, levels of chloride in the BWS Beretania Wells had risen (a sign of stress on the water source) in response to additional pumping being done to make up for losing supply from the Halawa Shaft because of the Navy’s Red Hill fuel leak. Less-than-normal rainfall has exacerbated the situation.
The reminder is being issued because of the loss of water supply capacity as a result of the shutdown of three BWS sources. The BWS has been actively adjusting the water system and pumped more from other sources to compensate for the loss. However, continuing to do so could eventually affect water quality of those other sources, so BWS needs to reduce overall water demand, according to the release.
BWS urges dining establishments to change their service policies, remind employees about the rule and instruct staff to serve water only upon request.
Sarah Yamanaka covers events, environmental and community news for Spectrum News Hawaii