25 May 2010

CNMI drought prompts water restrictions

3:03 pm on 25 May 2010

Residents in Saipan in the Northern Marianas are facing water restrictions as a result of drought.

The territory has been suffering from low rainfall since December, with the dry season expected to end in March, however, the forecast is it may remain dry until June.

The assistant executive director of the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation, Abe Utu Malae, says rainfall in the CNMI has been 30-40 percent below normal.

He says while 24 hour water services are currently not available for 30 percent of households in Saipan, further restrictions are being imposed.

"We are cutting back on the water hours and also we are beefing up the detection and also we're trying to eliminate by-passing or theft of water, which is a problem here in the islands."

Abe Utu Malae says if the drought persists, the CUC may have to extend rationing or look to other islands for help.